Research institute Fraunhofer ISE and partners have developed a concept for offshore hydrogen production from wind power through a PEM electrolyser and desalinated seawater which is meant to enable the development of regulations and the rapid implementation of large-scale projects.
The design was developed as part of the two-year OffsH2ore project funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and the results show that hydrogen production directly at sea is feasible in technical and economical terms, Fraunhofer ISE said this week.
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The concept describes an offshore wind farm that is directly connected to a platform with a 500-MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser. According to the research partners, this system will be capable of producing up to 50,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year. The system's design is scalable and modular which allows its adjustment for different capacities.
The electrolyser is powered by offshore wind energy and seawater which has been desalinated using the waste heat from the electrolysis process. The hydrogen is then transported via ships to the location of choice. A ship can load up to 400 tonnes of hydrogen from the offshore platform and deliver it to land, offering more flexibility than pipelines.
Fraunhofer ISE noted that PEM electrolysis is the preferred technology for offshore hydrogen production because of the limited space on the platform.
Besides Fraunhofer ISE, other participants in the project include renewables developer PNE AG as project coordinator, engineering company SILICA Verfahrenstechnik GmbH, offshore wind and hydrogen production adviser KONGSTEIN GmbH and Wystrach GmbH, a provider of storage facilities for hydrogen.