Nexstep’s Poshydon project will soon receive an electrolyser from the Norwegian company Nel Hydrogen. The installation will be placed in a sea container on Neptune Energy’s Q13a platform. It is the first step in the research of offshore hydrogen production with the ultimate goal of landing wind energy via gas pipelines.
Nexstep, a joint venture between Energiebeheer Nederland (EBN) and the Dutch oil and gas industry (Nogepa), thinks that the landing of wind energy could be a lot cheaper. After all, the gas infrastructure in the North Sea, which will land the proceeds from the one hundred and fifty offshore production platforms, can also transport hydrogen.
The research consortium wants to be the first to investigate the offshore production of hydrogen. For this purpose, an electrolyser was ordered from the Norwegian company Nel Hydrogen. The installation will be placed in a sea container on Neptune Energy’s Q13a platform about thirteen kilometers off the coast of Scheveningen. The advantage of the Q13a platform is that it already runs on green electricity via a cable coming from the land. It is then fairly easy to use this power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The aim of the research is to examine how an electrolyser behaves under the influence of the harsh conditions on an offshore platform. Although the configuration is not directly different from the onshore installations, too little is known about the behavior under offshore conditions. Director of Gas Technology René Peters of TNO: ‘At sea you have to deal with harsher conditions than on land. With a lot of wind, temperature fluctuations, and above all salt and water. We would like to know what this means for the reliability of the individual components. Are the degradation profiles comparable to onshore installations or do they wear out more? These are all questions that we can only answer by testing them in practice. Of course, we also provide insight into the costs. We can build the installations in sea containers and companies, but you will still have to supply and connect them’.
The production of hydrogen requires demineralized water. Of course, water is needed for the production of hydrogen gas. To this end TNO will build a reverse osmosis installation on the platform that converts seawater into fresh water. For the time being, the hydrogen produced will still be used on the platform itself. At a later stage, it will also be investigated whether it is possible to get the hydrogen ashore via existing gas pipelines.