Firms plan green hydrogen from seawater via offshore rigs

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Oil and gas company Neptune Energy is prepping a project to produce the world’s first seawater-sourced green hydrogen from an offshore production platform in the North Sea.

The PosHYdon pilot partners UK-registered Neptune with leading Dutch pipeline operators and Nexstep, the nation’s agency tasked to re-purpose redundant marine rigs.

Together they will use a Neptune platform located 13 km off Scheveningen to extract the clean gas from purified seawater.

Electricity from offshore wind farms could ultimately power hydrolysis on the rig, splitting off clean hydrogen (though for now the 1MW containerised unit will be powered via onshore cable). The green gas will be pumped onshore over existing pipelines reaching as far as northern Germany.

Dutch grid operator GasUnie has signed up to the two-year pilot. Its backers hope to begin production next year, yielding up to 5,000MWh of clean hydrogen in the first twelve months.

Costs of transporting hydrogen over existing natural gas pipes is a major research focus, as is assessing corrosion effects of seawater on the electrolyser’s components.

PosHYdon is a spin-off from the North Sea Energy programme, backed by 30 private and government Dutch bodies seeking a low carbon energy system for the region by 2030.

Hydrogen appears to be riding an investment wave. Last month the UK government launched its Hydrogen Taskforce, offering a consortium of major producers, storage specialists and manufacturers up to £1billion of public money to start building the foundations of a hydrogen economy.

Later this year ITM Power intends opening what’s claimed as the world’s biggest electrolyser factory for clean hydrogen in Sheffield.

See the video below for a brief explainer on how the PosHYdon project intends to proceed.

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