Vattenfall hopes as soon as 2025 to begin flowing hydrogen from an offshore wind turbine dedicated to green H2 production as it races to be the first in the world to directly link the two technologies.

The Swedish utility group confirmed the mid-decade target and said work will start immediately at its Hydrogen Turbine 1 (HT1) project after the initiative was awarded £9.3m ($11.5m) of UK government funding.

HT1 will see a PEM electrolyser and associated equipment fitted to a platform on the base of one of the eleven 8MW turbines at Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) technology test-bed in Scotland, with the H2 to be sent ashore via a flowline to the Port of Aberdeen.

The project partners said HT1 will be an important test of the practicalities of green hydrogen production from offshore wind, a technology alliance that many claim will be key to driving down the cost of renewable H2 – but others believe will always struggle to compete with onshore electrolysis due to the huge capital outlay needed to deploy wind at sea.

Vattenfall country manager Danielle Lane said: “Placing hydrogen electrolysers on offshore wind turbines is likely to be the quickest and cheapest way of providing fossil-free hydrogen at the scale needed to reduce emissions from heavy industries such as steel and chemicals.

“There’s a lot of talk about hydrogen’s potential uses, but we need to urgently map out the development and delivery processes so we can quickly get to the stage where we can produce large quantities of fossil-free hydrogen cost effectively.”

Vattenfall switched on the EOWDC in 2018 after a years-long legal battle with former US President Donald Trump, who objected to the impact of the turbines on views from his luxury golf course.

Mission for direct connection

Vattenfall is among a clutch of players looking at making a direct connection between individual offshore wind turbines and electrolysis, rather than siting it on a platform or even energy island fed by multiple turbines, or sending the power to land to power an onshore electrolyser.

RWE, Siemens Gamesa, Siemens Energy and oil supermajor Shell are teaming up to install two 14MW Siemens Gamesa offshore machines with an integrated electrolyser to produce green hydrogen off Heligoland, Germany, in a project called AquaPrimus 2 – also with a 2025 installation ambition.

There is also a major initiative in EOWDC’s Scottish backyard in the form of Dolphyn, a project led by consultancy ERM to integrate H2 production with floating wind with a view to future gigawatt-scale North Sea production.