Italy could be home to the world’s largest floating wind-powered hydrogen hub as early as 2027, following the signing of a deal today (Monday) between developer Aquaterra Energy and sector pioneer Seawind Ocean Technology to build a 3.2GW project in the Mediterranean.

The massive development planned, dubbed HyMed, would marry 1GW of dedicated green H2 generation – to be either transported by pipeline to shore or offloaded onto shuttle tankers – and 2.2GW of grid-exported power production from an undisclosed “ultra-deep water” site off the southern European country.

“With governments and business recognising the value of hydrogen as a vital resource for net zero initiatives, energy security, and guarding against volatile natural gas prices… Seawind’s fully integrated and scalable floating wind model offers a clear path to cost-effective industrial scale production – and we are providing the final piece of the production puzzle for it,” said Anne Haase, renewables director at Aquaterra.

HyMed is currently in its first phase of permitting, with the grid connection and the environmental impact assessments “well under way”, according to Haase, with Aquaterra handling offshore engineering and green hydrogen production Seawind contributing expertise on floating wind technology.

The two companies are aiming to have the megaproject “act as a template for future offshore renewable energy projects” between the companies, including a highly impactful 300MW H2 generation development in southwest Greece called Icarus.

Seawind CEO Dimitrios Moudouris said: “We consider the Mediterranean to be the best area where significant offshore wind projects can be developed and cross-border synergies can be made, serving Europe and [Middle East and North Africa].

“Culturally, we feel that Seawind and Aquaterra are a strong fit as our partners as they possess the agility and specialist knowledge to complement our approach to scalability and to accelerate the energy transition.”

Aquaterra last year launched a project called Haldane with hydrogen pioneer Lhyfe and oil & gas driller Borr, to develop an innovative rig-based concept for green H2 generation in the North Sea.

“Through our work on project Haldane we have developed industry leading hydrogen expertise within the business and are extremely enthusiastic to partner with Seawind to assist in accelerating its innovative production strategy,” said Hasse.

The combination of floating wind and hydrogen production has attracted the interest a number of leading of major developers. One of the first schemes will be the Dolphyn project being built by Engie-owned Tractebel with engineers ODE and consultancy ERM that aims channel 2MW output from the 50MW Kincardine array off Scotland to produce hydrogen that would be pumped in to oil industry capital Aberdeen from 2024.

Three “hydrogen focused” floating wind projects totalling 2.8GW of generation also emerged recently as winners from the clearing process of the giant ScotWind seabed leasing round.