Friday, February 23, 2024

World’s first offshore hydrogen production platform is now operational

Lhyfe announced that Sealhyfe, the world’s first offshore hydrogen production pilot, has started producing its first kilos of green hydrogen in the Atlantic Ocean, marking a decisive milestone for the future of the sector. The Sealhyfe was successfully towed 20 kilometers out into the Atlantic and connected with the SEM-REV power hub.

The progress in the project demonstrates Lhyfe’s ability to bring about concrete advances in the hydrogen industry and at great strides. In launching the world’s first offshore hydrogen production pilot, Lhyfe wanted to prove the technical feasibility of this kind of initiative and to gain operational experience to facilitate rapid scaling up.

The company has therefore made a bold decision to subject Sealhyfe to the toughest conditions. The platform will be tested under real conditions on a re-engineered floating structure connected to Central Nantes’ SEM-REV offshore testing hub, which is already linked with a floating wind turbine.

The Sealhyfe platform, measuring less than 200 sq. meters in area, has the potential to produce up to 400 kilograms of hydrogen a day.

Sealhyfe was moored at the Quai des Frégates in the Port of Saint-Nazaire from September 2022 to May 2023. During this time, Lhyfe and its partners conducted a series of startup tests to gain the necessary knowledge and move on to the second phase of the project with confidence.

After the first phase, Lhyfe has already updated its specifications for all its sites, both on and offshore, so that they can apply this valuable expertise. All Lhyfe units will therefore benefit from the advanced operating optimizations tested during this trial.

On May 19, Sealhyfe was towed to the SEM-REV offshore testing site 20 kilometers off the coast of Le Croisic (France). It was then connected to the site’s subsea hub via a dedicated umbilical cable that was specially designed for the hydrogen application. The system was restarted and on stream in just 48 hours. Lhyfe will now perform repeated tests previously done at the quay in order to have a strict comparison of results and will then tackle additional offshore-specific tests.

In pursuit of achieving the reliable offshore production of hydrogen in an isolated environment, Lhyfe is developing a unique operating capability that involves managing the platform’s movement and environmental stresses and validating green and renewable hydrogen production software and algorithms.

As a follow-up to this first stage, the company announced that the HOPE project had been selected by the European Commission under the European Clean Hydrogen Partnership. The project has been awarded a €20 million grant, enabling Lhyfe and its partners to gear up for commercialization. This unprecedented project, with a scale of 10 MW, will be able to produce up to four tonnes a day of green hydrogen at sea, which will be exported ashore by pipeline, and then compressed and delivered to customers.

Lhyfe aims to validate industrial solutions in offshore hydrogen production through these two pioneering projects. These solutions will be submitted in response to future calls for projects from various governments to help achieve the target set by the European Commission as part of the REPowerEU plan of 10 million tonnes of clean hydrogen produced in the European Union by 2030. To achieve this, Lhyfe has already partnered with wind turbine developers and offshore power specialists, such as EDPR, Centrica, and Capital Energy.