Plug Power Inc., a leading provider of hydrogen solutions for the green hydrogen economy, has been selected as part of the HOPE consortium to receive a substantial $21.8 million grant from the European Commission.
This grant aims to support the construction of an offshore hydrogen production plant. The HOPE consortium, consisting of nine companies, including Plug Power, will collaborate to establish a 10-megawatt (MW) proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer system in the North Sea, near the port of Ostend, Belgium. This offshore hydrogen project, with a capacity of 10MW, seeks to demonstrate the commercial viability of renewable offshore hydrogen production and enable future large-scale deployments.
The ambitious HOPE project intends to generate up to four tons of green hydrogen per day at sea. The produced hydrogen will then be transported to shore through pipelines, compressed, and delivered to customers within a 200-mile radius, including Belgium, northern France, and southern Netherlands. This project represents the world’s first implementation of an offshore hydrogen production plant of this magnitude. The production unit and export infrastructure are expected to become operational by mid-2026.
Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power, expressed gratitude for the European Commission’s support and highlighted the potential for private sector investments in offshore hydrogen production once the project’s success is demonstrated. The HOPE project aims to showcase the commercial viability of large-scale offshore hydrogen production, thus encouraging further investment and advancement in the sector.
The strategic location of the production site near the port of Ostend, less than a mile from the coast, provides a significant advantage for the HOPE project. The area, already positioned as a crucial element of Belgium’s hydrogen supply chain, offers convenient access to infrastructure and logistics. The production facility will be powered by renewable electricity obtained through power purchase agreements (PPAs), ensuring its sustainable operations. Additionally, the electrolysis process will utilize desalinated and purified seawater from the North Sea.
The primary objective of the HOPE consortium is to establish a blueprint for large-scale offshore renewable hydrogen production. Through the construction and operation of this production unit, the consortium aims to demonstrate the technical and financial feasibility of offshore hydrogen projects with pipeline transportation for onshore customers.
The five-year grant will cover various aspects, including design phases, equipment supply, construction work, and research and development activities. The consortium will focus on optimizing technological solutions and analyzing the techno-economic aspects of large-scale offshore renewable hydrogen production.