Is this the future for clean hydrogen generation?

Jon Lawson

For some, hydrogen is a possible energy source complimenting the electrification we are seeing today across several sectors.

Traditionally, it’s been an energy intensive gas to produce, so a greener production method is desirable. Step forward PosHYdon, a collaboration between several private firms and The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) which has just boosted the project’s coffers with a cash injection of €3.6 million. 

René Peters is business director, gas technologies at TNO and initiator of the North Sea energy program. He notes, “PosHYdon is the ultimate example of system integration in the North Sea. In many studies, hydrogen is considered the missing link in the energy transition, with many talking about all the opportunities. But here, right off the coast of Scheveningen (off The Hague), it will actually take place. PosHYdon will teach us a lot about the next steps that need to be taken towards safe, large-scale green hydrogen production at sea. Offshore green hydrogen production will enable large-scale wind farms to be developed far out at sea. Wind energy is then directly converted to green hydrogen and can be transported through the existing gas infrastructure. As a result, offshore wind projects can be realised faster at significantly lower costs for society. I am therefore very happy that we can now progress with PosHYdon.”

The plan is to validate the integration of three different energy systems: offshore wind, offshore gas and offshore hydrogen and will involve the installation of hydrogen-producing plant on the Neptune Energy-operated Q13a-A platform. This is the first fully electrified platform in the Dutch North Sea, located approximately 13 km off the coast of Scheveningen.

Electricity generated by offshore wind turbines will be used to power the hydrogen plant on the platform, converting seawater into demineralised water, then into hydrogen via electrolysis. The aim of the pilot is to gain experience of integrating working energy systems at sea and the production of hydrogen in an offshore environment. Also the efficiency of an electrolyser with a variable supply from offshore wind will be tested, and at the same time insights into the overall system costs will be acquired.

The green hydrogen will be mixed with the gas and transported via the existing pipeline to the coast. The 1MW electrolyser could produce up to of 400kg of green hydrogen per day.

Other partners include NOGAT, DEME Offshore, TAQA and Nexstep. Jacqueline Vaessen, managing director of Nexstep, national platform for reuse and decommissioning adds, “Together with a number of operators and TNO, this idea arose about two years ago from a brainstorming session of the ‘re-purpose' working group within Nexstep. We looked at what the best location would be to host this pilot and then arrived at Neptune Energy's Q13a-A, since that platform is already fully electrified using green electricity. Then the pioneering and search for suitable consortium partners began. This award is a crown on the preparatory work. I am therefore extremely proud PosHYdon is now ready for this important next phase.”

 

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