FREDERICIA, Denmark – The European Commission’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking has awarded the Oyster project consortium €5 million ($6 million) to investigate and demonstrate a combined offshore wind turbine and electrolyser system designed for operation in marine environments.
The consortium, which consists of ITM Power, Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, and Element Energy, will develop and test a megawatt-scale fully marinized electrolyser in a shoreside pilot trial. Element Energy will coordinate the project.
The electrolyser system will be designed to be compact, to allow it to be integrated with one offshore wind turbine, and to follow the turbine’s production profile. Furthermore, the system will integrate desalination and water treatment processes, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.
The project is planned to start in 2021 and run to the end of 2024. ITM Power is responsible for the development of the electrolyser system and the trials. Ørsted will lead the offshore deployment analysis, the feasibility study of future physical offshore electrolyser deployments, and support ITM Power in the design of the electrolyser system for marinization and testing. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Element Energy will provide technical and project expertise.
The Oyster project partners said they share a vision of hydrogen being produced from offshore wind at a cost that is competitive with natural gas (with a realistic carbon tax).
Michael Dolman, Associate Director at Element Energy, said: “Offshore wind is now one of the lowest cost forms of electricity generation in Europe and will have an important role in Europe’s decarbonization plans. There is growing interest in transporting renewable energy in the form of hydrogen, particularly for sites far from shore. Realizing such a vision will require further development and innovations of the type to be demonstrated in the Oyster project.”