BEIS awards funding for hydrogen and offshore wind integration projects

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 20/05/2022 BEIS

The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has allocated funding for two offshore wind projects through its Net Zero Innovation Portfolio Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 Competition.

Vattenfall has been awarded £9.3 million in innovation funding to be used to develop the world’s first hydrogen-producing offshore wind turbine, with the electrolyser sited directly onto an existing operational turbine.

The pilot project at Vattenfall’s
Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm is expected to produce enough hydrogen every day to power a hydrogen bus to travel 15,000 miles. The hydrogen will be piped to shore at the Port of Aberdeen. Work on the project has commenced, with the goal of first production as early as 2025.

HT1 consists of desalination, electrolysis and associated balance-of-plant equipment closely integrated with the turbine power electronics, physically coupled with the turbine on an extended platform which will encircle the base of the turbine. Turbine power will be dedicated to hydrogen production, and the electrolyser is expected to operate without requiring energy supply from the national grid.

The hydrogen will be transported to shore via pipeline for processing and delivery to end users. To accelerate demonstration of the pilot and maximise cost efficiencies, Vattenfall will aim to commence operation by early 2025.

Danielle Lane, UK Country Manager for Vattenfall, 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. The HT1 project will focus on overcoming those barriers, in the real-world environment of an operational offshore wind farm.”

ERM has been awarded £8.6 million funding for its innovation projects. This includes Dolphyn, which seeks to further develop large scale, low carbon hydrogen production from floating offshore wind. It is a modular design, which combines electrolysis, desalination and hydrogen production on a floating wind platform. The design has been developed under the UK government’s Hydrogen Supply Competition (2016-2021).

Offshore demonstration trials to evaluate key systems are expected during 2023. The trials will produce electrolytic hydrogen from seawater in an offshore floating marine environment. The development of a commercial scale demonstrator, which aims to produce hydrogen at a commercial price,  is expected by 2025.

According to BEIS, the development of ERM Dolphyn to date has enabled a number of commercial scale sites (100 MW+) to be identified. The first being the 300 MW Dylan site in the Celtic Sea, 60km west of Milford Haven, in collaboration with Source Energie. The aim is to have this project operational by the end of 2028.

Funding for ERM was also earmarked for its feasibility studies on the bulk storage of hydrogen using Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers at existing oil terminals and design development of a Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier Tank System to reduce the footprint and cost of hydrogen storage.

Steve Matthews, ERM’s Director for Hydrogen Ventures, said: “We’re delighted to receive this support from the UK Government for these innovative projects, which we believe will help transform the UK’s hydrogen landscape. The UK is at a critical point when it comes to our energy strategy, and we believe that low carbon hydrogen has a critical role to play on the journey to creating an energy system that is not only secure and efficient, but also capable of hitting our net zero targets in an affordable way.”