The use of renewable hydrogen is crucial to achieving EU climate neutrality by 2050. The EU has published a hydrogen strategy which targets 6 GW of electrolyser by 2024 and 40 GW by 2040.
“Europe is highly competitive in clean hydrogen technologies manufacturing and is well positioned to benefit from a global development of clean hydrogen as an energy carrier. Cumulative investments in renewable hydrogen in Europe could be up to EUR 180-470 billion by 2050 […] clean hydrogen could meet 24% of energy world demand by 2050, with annual sales in the range of €630 billion”.
Renewable hydrogen is produced by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen in an electrolyser, using renewable electricity such as offshore wind energy. This process ensures that there are no emissions associated with the production.
Offshore wind is now one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation in Europe. The renewable energy is transported to shore thought sub-sea cables, but producing hydrogen offshore directly from renewable electricity could be a future supplemental way of getting large amounts of renewable energy from offshore wind to shore.
The ability to produce hydrogen directly offshore can help countries move towards greener energy systems within the next 30 years.
Renewable energy from offshore wind has become cheaper than new fossil-based power plants and is now a cost-effective technology that can deliver large amount of renewable power for the green transition. The production from offshore wind sometimes exceeds demand for electricity, but renewable hydrogen production offers the benefit of providing a flexible large-scale demand for electricity from wind, thus turning excess wind energy in to fuels that can help decarbonise the economy further. In this way, offshore hydrogen can also unlock further renewable energy deployment and therefore help achieve Europe’s decarbonisation aims.
Europe is also going through a growing trend of increasing the scale of electrolyser projects to reduce costs through economies of scale. The OYSTER project is answering this crucial need to produce hydrogen offshore and at scale by developing and testing a megawatt-scale fully marinised electrolyser in a shoreside pilot trial.