Professor Jihyun Hwang, from the Korea Institute of Energy Technology (KENTECH), unveiled the concept of offshore floating green hydrogen platforms, emphasizing its potential to enhance the utilization of offshore wind power plants and produce green hydrogen cost-effectively.
The premise is simple yet revolutionary: build offshore floating green hydrogen platforms adjacent to offshore wind power plants, harness surplus electricity, and convert it into green hydrogen. This concept not only optimizes the use of offshore wind resources but also offers a cost-effective and scalable approach to green hydrogen production.
The key advantage lies in the modular construction of these platforms, allowing for assembly at shipyards and subsequent installation at sea. This approach is poised to deliver substantial cost savings when compared to traditional land-based construction methods.
Furthermore, the transportation of green hydrogen can be streamlined by liquefying the hydrogen at the offshore platform and shipping it to nearby demand points. This approach not only reduces transportation costs but also enhances the accessibility of green hydrogen for industries and regions in need.
Professor Hwang envisions this concept as a multifaceted solution. For example, by locating an offshore floating green hydrogen platform near the Shinan offshore wind power plant, not only can the electricity needs of the surrounding island area be met, but surplus green hydrogen can also be supplied to industrial facilities like the steel plant in Gwangyang and the petrochemical plant in Yeosu. This model, he believes, can be extended to other regions, including Jeju Island.
Moreover, offshore green hydrogen platforms offer advantages in terms of avoiding land expropriation disputes and facing fewer legal regulations compared to onshore installations. If the International Maritime Organization (IMO) strengthens regulations, these platforms could potentially revolutionize ship fuel, leading to increased adoption and further spotlighting the offshore green hydrogen concept.
The journey toward offshore green hydrogen platforms began with a business agreement signed by Kentech, Linde of Germany, ABS of the United States, ITM Power of the United Kingdom, and HD Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. Together, they embarked on the joint development of ‘floating green hydrogen liquefaction platform technology.’ Professor Hwang, leading a team from Kentech, is actively involved in this project, working in collaboration with HD Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to develop an ‘offshore floating green hydrogen platform.’
The significance of this proposal extends beyond individual projects. South Jeolla Province, for instance, is advancing the ‘Green Hydrogen Energy Island Project,’ with plans to establish an 8.2 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind farm by 2030. Professor Hwang’s offshore green hydrogen concept offers valuable guidance for the direction of such ambitious projects.
Kentech has also been at the forefront of global hydrogen energy research. The ‘Kentec-Fraunhofer Hydrogen Energy FIP Research Institute,’ established in Naju, received an ‘excellent’ evaluation score from Fraunhofer for its first-year research performance. This institute represents Fraunhofer’s first overseas venture in hydrogen research and has been actively involved in international joint research and infrastructure construction projects, including proposals to develop hydrogen infrastructure in three ASEAN countries in collaboration with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) under the United Nations.
Jong-hee Han, the head of Kentech’s Hydrogen Energy Research Institute, proudly states, “We are leading domestic hydrogen energy research.” Indeed, with offshore floating green hydrogen platforms on the horizon, the future of sustainable energy production looks brighter than ever.