What will soon be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm – Orsted’s 1.4GW Hornsea 2 – will power green hydrogen production under a programme newly-awarded additional funding by the UK government.
The Gigastack project, led by ITM Power, aims to deliver zero-carbon hydrogen via ‘stackable’ 5MW electrolysers produced in gigawatt-scale factories for large-scale generation.
Gigastack was on Tuesday awarded £7.5m ($9.7m) by the UK government under the latest stage of its hydrogen innovation programme, with a view to enabling green hydrogen production from the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery in northeast England.
Hornsea 2 is due online in the UK North Sea in 2022, when it will replace Orsted’s adjacent 1.2GW Hornsea 1 as the world’s largest operating offshore wind farm.
Offshore wind is rapidly emerging as a key potential power source for bulk – and therefore more cost-effective – production of green hydrogen, which is increasingly seen as the 'missing link' in the energy transition thanks to its ability to penetrate hard-to-decarbonise areas such as heating and heavy industrial processes.
Orsted is also involved in an offshore wind-to-hydrogen initiative in Denmark, and hydrogen production is envisaged as part of a huge ‘energy island’ hub in the Baltic.
Plans for the world’s first commercial-scale green-hydrogen plant to be powered solely by surplus offshore wind energy were announced in January by a trio of Belgian companies.
Another green hydrogen project, Dolphyn, which plans to produce hydrogen from self-contained units on floating wind turbines in the UK North Sea, also received further UK government funding of £3.12m.
Kevin Kinsella, director of the Dolphyn project for consultancy ERM, told Recharge it expects to have its 2MW prototype operating off northeast Scotland by the end of 2023, producing hydrogen for local heat and transport applications.
That would quickly be followed by a 10MW full-scale pre-commercial facility, he added.