Developer EI-H2’s plans to build Ireland’s first green hydrogen plant to decarbonise an industrial cluster around Cork harbour as the lead-off phase of a 1GW floating wind-powered e-fuel complex, has moved ahead with the hiring of contractor Worley to the project.

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Worley will carry out engineering for the 50MW pilot project, expected to cost €120m ($145m), which once online will supply 20 tonnes of green hydrogen a day to a “diverse commercial market” while removing 63,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

“We firmly believe that Ireland is incredibly well positioned to become a global leader in green energy. At EI-H2, we believe in partnerships that last. In that context, Worley are the natural choice to develop this key infrastructure,” said Tom Lynch, CEO of EI-H2.

“We are delighted to partner with Worley as we look to deliver Ireland’s first green hydrogen production facility.”

Worley’s VP for power and new energy, Eoghan Quinn, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Worley to apply our vast experience in delivering the world’s most ground-breaking green hydrogen projects to the Irish market.

“As more renewable energy comes online, Ireland has a strategic role to play in decarbonising Europe. We continue to grow our strong footprint in this geography, supporting our customers to build a more sustainable future.”

The Aghada site was picked for its proximity to “an existing triangle of energy generation, including power generating stations, heavy industry and an oil refinery”, EI-H2 founder Pearse Flynn said, speaking with Recharge in May, with an eye on the potential to export green hydrogen in the future using a fleet of environmentally friendly ships.

The project is slated to be operational before the end of 2023.

“By 2050, green hydrogen will account for 80% of the shipping industry’s energy demand, the vast majority of which will be in the form of green ammonia. The same product will meet an estimated 60% of the aviation sector’s energy demand,” he said.

A who’s-who of offshore wind developers has been gathering at the gates in Ireland, with gigawatt-scale projects launched recently by utilities including EDF and Iberdrola, and oil supermajors Shell and Total, like their European industrial peer Equinor, taking big stakes in what is seen as one of the most prospective markets in the world, and national utility ESB having unveiled a plan to transform Moneypoint – the country’s only coal-fired power station – into a floating wind-power green energy hub.

The country’s national climate and energy plans are built around a 70%-green power system that is promoted as the first step in a more ambitious capacity target for wind at sea, through which Ireland could become a net energy exporter.