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Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa consortium receives €5M in funding

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ITM Power, Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Element Energy have received €5 million in funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2-JU) under the European Commission to demonstrate and investigate a hybrid wind turbine and electrolyser device planned for use in marine environments.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH2-JU), a public private collaboration of the European Commission, has awarded €5 million to the consortium behind the OYSTER project, consisting of ITM Power, Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Element Energy, to explore the feasibility and potential of integrating an offshore wind turbine directly with an electrolyser and a rene transport system.

The consortium will build and test a completely marined megawatt-scale electrolyser in a shoreside pilot test. The project is being coordinated by Element Electricity.

In order to realize the potential of offshore hydrogen production, there is a need for compact electrolysis systems that can withstand harsh offshore environments and have minimal maintenance requirements while still meeting cost and performance goals that will enable the production of low-cost hydrogen. The project will provide a big move forward towards this goal.

The electrolyser system will be planned to be lightweight, to be combined with a single offshore wind turbine and to suit the output profile of the turbine. In addition, the electrolyser system would incorporate desalination and water treatment processes, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.

The OYSTER project partners share a vision that offshore wind will generate hydrogen at a cost that is competitive with natural gas (with a reasonable carbon tax), thereby unlocking broad green hydrogen markets with a substantial effect on CO2 emissions and promoting the transition to a fully renewable energy system in Europe.

This project is a crucial first step towards building a commercial offshore hydrogen production industry and will highlight groundbreaking technologies with considerable potential in Europe and beyond.

The project is expected to start in 2021 and will continue until the end of 2024. ITM Power is responsible for the construction of the electrolyser system and the electrolyser testing, while Ørsted will lead the offshore deployment review, the feasibility study of possible physical offshore electrolyser deployments, and assist ITM Power in the design of the marine and test electrolyser system. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Element Energy have technological and project expertise.

“ITM Power are delighted to be part of this exciting project, working alongside industry leaders to explore the potential to harness wind for offshore green hydrogen production.”

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power.

“To create a world that runs entirely on green energy, we need to electrify as much as we can. However, some sectors cannot decarbonise through electrification and that’s where renewable hydrogen could play a significant role. Offshore hydrogen production could be a future, supplemental way of getting large amounts of energy generated from offshore wind power to shore.

“As the largest offshore wind company in the world, we’re of course keen to better understand what it will take to produce renewable hydrogen offshore as a potential future supplement to production of renewable electricity. Having pioneered the offshore wind industry, we know that thorough analysis and testing are required before deploying new technologies at sea.”

Anders Christian Nordstrøm, vice president and head of Ørsted’s hydrogen activities.

“The OYSTER project is a very exciting addition to the FCH JU pallet of electrolysis projects that will allow the development of an offshore-spec electrolyser for green hydrogen to be generated in the harsh offshore environment. The aim is the optimal integration of electrolysers with offshore wind turbines to store the energy generated in the form of hydrogen. We are absolutely delighted to support this innovative project which reduces the environmental impact in further industrial applications.” 

Bart Biebuyck, executive director, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).

“Offshore wind is now one of the lowest cost forms of electricity generation in Europe and will have an important role in Europe’s decarbonisation plans. There is growing interest in transporting renewable energy in the form of hydrogen, particularly for sites far from shore. Realising such a vision will require further development and innovations of the type to be demonstrated in the OYSTER project, which Element Energy is pleased to coordinate.” 

Michael Dolman, associate director at Element Energy.
Nedim Husomanovic

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