The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH2-JU), a public private partnership of the European Commission, has awarded the consortium behind the OYSTER project, EUR 5 million to investigate the feasibility and potential of combining an offshore wind turbine directly with an electrolyser and transporting renewable hydrogen to shore.
The consortium will develop and test a megawatt-scale fully marinised electrolyser in a shoreside pilot trial. The project will be coordinated by Element Energy.
To achieve 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 targets that will allow production of low-cost hydrogen.
The electrolyser system will be designed to be compact, to allow it to be integrated with a single offshore wind turbine, and to follow the turbine's production profile. Furthermore, the electrolyser system will integrate desalination and water treatment processes, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.
This project is a first step on the path to developing a commercial offshore hydrogen production industry and will demonstrate innovative solutions with significant potential in Europe and beyond.
The project is planned to start in 2021 and run to the end of 2024.
Anders Christian Nordstrøm, Vice President and Head of Ørsted's hydrogen activities, stated on the occasion:
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
Moreover, according to Michael Dolman, Associate Director at Element Energy, 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.