A consortium is moving ahead with plans to build the world's first offshore green hydrogen project on an operational oil or gas platform after receiving a €3.6m ($4.2m) subsidy from the Dutch government.
UK independent oil producer Neptune Energy will host the PosHYdon project — which aims to validate the integration of offshore wind, natural gas and hydrogen —on its Q13a-A platform in the North Sea, 13km off the coast the Netherlands.
Electricity generated by offshore wind turbines will desalinate sea water, with a 1MW electrolyser splitting the purified water into hydrogen and oxygen. The 400kg of green hydrogen produced each day will then be mixed with extracted fossil gas and transported to shore by existing gas pipelines.
While the consortium says the €10m PosHYdon project will be powered by offshore wind, it has not revealed whether this will come from existing or new turbines.
The fully electrified platform is already powered by renewable energy from the Netherlands, raising questions as to whether the offshore wind power will actually be simulated — as stated in a YouTube video produced by the project partners in October 2019.
It is understood that the consortium's ambition is to begin producing hydrogen in two to three years' time.
The €3.6m subsidy was awarded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency under its Demonstration Energy and Climate Innovation scheme, which invests in renewable-energy developments.
The remaining budget will be funded by the consortium partners: Nel Hydrogen, InVesta, Hatenboer, IV-Offshore & Energy, Emerson Automation Solutions, Nexstep, TNO, Neptune, Gasunie, Noordgastransport, NOGAT, DEME Offshore, Taqa and Eneco.
“Together with a number of operators and [independent research group] TNO, this idea arose about two years ago from a brainstorming session of the ‘Re-purpose’ working group within Nexstep,” said Jacqueline Vaessen, managing director of Nexstep, the Dutch national organisation for the re-use and decommissioning of oil & gas platforms.
“We looked at what the best location would be to host this pilot and then arrived at Neptune Energy's Q13a-A, since that platform is already fully electrified using green electricity.”
Rene Peters, TNO business director, gas technologies, and initiator of the North Sea Energy programme, said: “PosHYdon will teach us a lot about the next steps that need to be taken towards safe, large-scale green hydrogen production at sea. Offshore green hydrogen production will enable large-scale wind farms to be developed far out at sea.”
· A version of this article first appeared in Recharge's sister publication, Upstream.