A consortium behind a project that could prove a “key first step” on the path to developing a commercial offshore hydrogen production industry has been awarded funding.
On 8 January, it was announced that the consortium behind the OYSTER project – Ørsted ITM Power, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Element Energy – had received €5mn from The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2-JU) under the European Commission. The funding will support the partners as they seek to investigate and demonstrate a combined wind turbine and electrolyser system designed for operation in marine environments.
Compact electrolysis systems capable of withstanding harsh offshore environments, with minimal maintenance requirements, that still meet cost and performance targets allowing for production of low cost hydrogen were highlighted as crucial to realising the potential of offshore hydrogen production. The consortium consider their project as a “major advance” towards this goal. It will start in 2021, running until the end of 2024, and see a megawatt scale fully marinised electrolyser developed and tested in a shoreside pilot trial.
The electrolyser will be designed to be compact, allowing for it to be integrated with a single offshore wind turbine and follow the turbine’s production profile. It will also integrate desalination and water treatment processes, meaning sweater can be used as feedstock for the electrolysis process.