Offshore wind power could power the hydrogen economy

File image courtesy of Orsted

Published 02/25/2022 23:21 by

The Maritime Executive

Offshore wind farms have the potential to become future production hubs for green hydrogen, a development that could be accelerated by the maritime industry’s acceptance of the clean fuel due to falling prices, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) said.

In a new white paper, the classification body says onboarding green hydrogen production at offshore wind farms is feasible with expected increases in demand over the next decade. Green hydrogen production requires a renewable energy source to provide input power for the electrolyzer system and all other equipment used in the process. In the case of offshore hydrogen production, the easiest source of renewable energy will come from offshore wind turbines, alongside other energy sources such as tidal, wave and solar harvesters.

ABS is already working with Hyundai Heavy Industries and Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering to jointly develop technical guidelines for green hydrogen production from offshore platforms. The guidance is an important first step in planning and building a facility by 2025 and will facilitate the development of production facilities that will make a critical contribution to the growth of a global green hydrogen economy.

Several large offshore green hydrogen production projects have been proposed so far, all based on offshore wind farms. This includes the NorthH2 project off the Dutch coast, which will have a capacity of 4 GW by 2030 and over 10 GW of green hydrogen from offshore wind by 2040. The AquaVentus project in Germany would use 10 GW of offshore wind energy to generate green hydrogen by 2035.

“The idea of ​​storing energy as hydrogen is one of the reasons why green hydrogen is increasingly being recognized as critical to maximizing the efficiency of renewable energy sources and is a potential game-changer for the shipping and offshore industries,” said Gareth Burton, Vice President of ABS , technology.

Although the price of green hydrogen is currently high, according to the white paper, the cost is expected to decrease over the next 10 years. Green hydrogen was priced between $3 and $6.55 per kilo in April last year, making it comparatively expensive in the current market compared to hydrogen produced via blue or brown/grey processes that fall between $1.30 and $2.90 per kilo and $0.70 and $2.20 per kilo cost kilos and

As technology and infrastructure develops, the price of green hydrogen is expected to drop to around $2 per kilo in most regions by 2030, with lows of $1 per kilo in particularly favorable regions – notably China, UK, Germany , the Netherlands and Belgium, which are investing heavily in offshore wind.

The white paper shows that the global consumption of hydrogen fuel reached about 75 million tons in 2019, although only 1.5 million tons was green hydrogen.

Demand for hydrogen is expected to increase by 7 to 9 percent annually, leading to an estimated demand of 500 to 800 million tons of hydrogen by 2050. This would cover between 15 and 20 percent of the world’s energy needs.

In order to reach a production level of 500 million tons of hydrogen by 2050, 3,000 to 6,000 GW of newly installed renewable energy sources must be provided for hydrogen production.

About Christine Geisler

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