Industry body the World Forum for Offshore Wind (WFO) has launched a new committee focused on the co-development of offshore wind power and hydrogen generation, bringing in DNV H2 and carbon capture & storage (CCS) lead Magnus Killingland to head it up.

The new bureau will concentrate on offshore wind ‘Power-to-X’ value chain optimisation; financing, business cases and regulation; and safety and risks, said WFO, with Killingland = giving guidance “on advisory and verification for de-risking investment decisions and the development of technologies and value chains” for hydrogen production including ammonia and e-fuels, and full-scale CCS.

“WFO and its members believe that hydrogen production from offshore wind creates tremendous new opportunities for the global industry,” said WFO managing director Gunnar Herzig. “We see green hydrogen production as an integral part of the offshore wind industry’s future.”

A big part of offshore wind-to-hydrogen’s economic allure is in the fact that the more hours per year that an electrolyser is working, the cheaper the hydrogen produced is. So renewables projects with high capacity factors that channel all their output to electrolysers are the best option for cost-effective green hydrogen.

Bottom-fixed offshore wind runs at around 50% – much higher than onshore – and floating wind, with an average capacity factor of 65%, better still, meaning it should be even more economic in the long run.

Moreover, to replace the existing 70 million tonnes of grey H2 generated each year — mainly used for oil refining, fertiliser production and as chemicals feedstock — with green would require almost 900GW of dedicated offshore wind projects, most of which would be far out to sea, more than 200km from coastal grid connections.

It is a problem hydrogen could solve in part by removing the cost and complexity of a giant export trunkline from a deepwater wind project, with H2 production stored on so-called energy islands for onward transport to market or for refuelling future green container and tanker vessels.