ITM Power and Ørsted have embarked on a design project integrating a hydrogen electrolyser into offshore wind turbines.
The companies believe that the design could be a better option for bulk hydrogen production compared with remote location of large-scale electrolysers due to reduced costs and energy losses.
The project, backed by the UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), proposes an electrolyser placed in the turbine tower or very near it, directly electrically connected to the DC link in the turbine, with power flow control and water supplied to it.
Hydrogen produced would be transported to the shore by an underwater or underground pipe network.
As hydrogen pipes cost less per km than power cables, the design presents an opportunity to reduce costs, ITM Power says.
Overall, the concept explores opportunities to minimise the cost of hydrogen production through a combination of improved efficiency and reduced CAPEX, it added. Such a system has not been demonstrated in practice and “several challenges” will need to be overcome for this vision to be realised.
Future areas for development include techno-economic assessment and business case development, prototype design, build, deployment and testing, and development of an electrolyser module specification suitable for offshore operations, ITM says.