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Offshore Wind and its Role in Transforming the Hydrogen Economy

Green hydrogen, produced from renewable sources such as wind and solar power, is quickly gaining recognition as a key player in the transition to a low-carbon energy future. While the production of green hydrogen has traditionally been associated with onshore production facilities, the offshore production of green hydrogen is becoming increasingly popular and is seen as a logical next step in the evolution of the hydrogen economy.

One of the key benefits of producing green hydrogen offshore is the access to large amounts of renewable energy. Offshore wind power provides a constant and consistent source of renewable energy, making it an ideal source for the production of green hydrogen. The strong and predictable winds found offshore allow for the operation of large wind turbines, which in turn can generate significant amounts of electricity that can be used to produce green hydrogen through the process of electrolysis.

Unlike the early years of offshore wind, we are now standing on the cusp of a new era of offshore hydrogen production of industrial volumes. With many offshore wind farms already installed and even more being planned, it is no surprise that industry players and governments across the globe are increasingly dedicating resources in this space when looking to ramp up hydrogen production.

The rationale for offshore wind to green hydrogen

  • According to the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), the next phase of offshore wind projects will include extra-large 12 MW turbines and have more capacity than ever before. Offshore wind has a higher capacity factor than other renewables, which means that an electrolyser can operate for a greater proportion of time and produce more hydrogen.

  • Offshore wind has a higher capacity factor than other renewables, meaning an electrolyzer can operate for a greater proportion of time and produce more hydrogen.

  • Many of the next generation offshore wind projects will face long distances to shore, limited interconnection points, and projected grid constraints and as such, they may therefore be well suited for dedicated hydrogen production or for converting excess capacity to hydrogen.

  • Many of the potential end uses of hydrogen, such as in refineries, the metal industry, marine transport, and export/import facilities are located on the coast, near to offshore wind farm locations.

Offshore hydrogen concepts

  • Offshore wind + onshore electrolyser: Electricity is transmitted by a subsea cable to an onshore electrolyser, where hydrogen is produced on land

  • Offshore wind + offshore electrolyser on a central platform: Hydrogen is produced offshore and transported to shore through a dedicated pipeline

  • Offshore wind + offshore electrolyser integrated in each wind turbine: An electrolyser installed and fully integrated into a platform at the base of an offshore wind turbine produces hydrogen, which is then transported to shore through a dedicated pipeline.

While there are still technical and feasibility barriers that have to be addressed, the combination of offshore wind power and green hydrogen production will represent a significant step forward in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. By combining the strengths of these two technologies, we accelerate the race to achieve a consistent and reliable supply of clean energy that will help to power a sustainable future for generations to come.

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