UK independent Neptune Energy will host the world’s first offshore green hydrogen project on an operational oil or gas platform, using a facility in the Dutch North Sea.

PosHYdon, which will be hosted on the Q13a-A platform, 13 kilometres off the coast of Scheveningen in The Hague, aims to validate the integration of offshore wind, gas and hydrogen.

Electricity generated by offshore wind turbines will power the hydrogen plant on the platform, converting seawater into demineralised water, then into hydrogen via electrolysis. The aim is to gain experience of integrating working energy systems at sea and the production of hydrogen in an offshore environment.

The efficiency of an electrolyser with a variable supply from offshore wind will also be tested, and knowledge and insights will be obtained on the costs of installation and maintenance.

The green hydrogen will be mixed with the gas and transported via the existing gas pipeline to the coast. The 1-megawatt electrolyser will produce a maximum of 400 kilogrammes of green hydrogen per day.

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Neptune said it welcomes the €3.6 million ($4.25 million) subsidy from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency that will allow the consortium to start up activities on the project.

The cost of the pilot project is in the region of €10 million — "likely to be a little above that", one of the project's proponents told Upstream.

It is understood that the partners’ ambition is to begin producing hydrogen in two to three years' time.

The subsidy was awarded under the agency’s Demonstration Energy and climate Innovation scheme, which invests in renewable energy developments, including hydrogen pilots.

The remaining budget will be funded by the consortium partners, Nel Hydrogen, InVesta, Hatenboer, IV-Offshore & Energy, Emerson Automation Solutions, Nexstep, TNO, Neptune, Gasunie, Noordgastransport, NOGAT, DEME Offshore, Taqa and Eneco.

Brainstorming session

“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,” said Jacqueline Vaessen, managing director of Nexstep, national platform for reuse and decommissioning.

“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.”

Rene Peters, TNO business director, gas technologies, and initiator of the North Sea Energy programme, said: “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, it will actually take place.

Next steps

“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.”

Neptune’s managing director for the Netherlands, Lex de Groot, said: “The Dutch North Sea sector has an exciting future as a ‘new energy hub’ and can play a leading role in large-scale green hydrogen production for north-western Europe, given its infrastructure that connects offshore with onshore.”

He said that integration of energy systems supports net zero goals in a smart, efficient and cost-effective manner and without disturbing existing sea ecosystems.

De Groot added that the extensive infrastructure network is connected to international grids and can easily accommodate wind farms further out at sea by converting the production of green electricity into green hydrogen and transporting it to the grid onshore.

“PosHYdon will be the key to making this happen and we are excited to consider future opportunities that the pilot can help unlock.”

Thursday marked the formation of the new PosHYdon consortium comprising partners with expertise in offshore wind, green electricity generation and hydrogen transport.

Q13a-A was the first fully electrified platform in the Dutch North Sea. Its location and connections to transport infrastructure make it an ideal host for PosHYdon, according to Neptune.

Partners in the platform are operator Neptune (50%), EBN (40%) and Taqa (10%).