UK: Renewable Hydrogen Oyster Project to Develop Innovative Electrolyzer Project

Editor: Ahlam Rais

The ‘marinized’ electrolyzer project will be developed at Grimsby in the UK for renewable hydrogen production. The Oyster Project is funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a public private partnership of the European Commission and will develop and test an electrolyzer system designed to be integrated with offshore wind turbines.

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The Oyster consortium selected Grimsby because of the region's strong connection to renewable energy, in particular offshore wind.
The Oyster consortium selected Grimsby because of the region's strong connection to renewable energy, in particular offshore wind.
(Source: Ørsted)

Fredericia/Denmark – Reaching the EU Hydrogen Strategy target of 40 GW of electrolyzers by 2030 is expected to require both onshore and offshore electrolyzers. The Oyster project - being undertaken by a consortium of ITM Power, Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, and Element Energy - will develop and test a megawatt-scale, fully marinized electrolyzer in a shoreside pilot trial, which will be located in Grimsby, UK.

The project will also explore the feasibility and potential of combining an offshore wind turbine directly with an electrolyzer and transporting renewable hydrogen to the shore. The project is 100 % funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a public private partnership of the European Commission, which awarded the project 6 million dollars in January 2021.

The Oyster consortium selected Grimsby because of the region's strong connection to renewable energy, in particular offshore wind. The Humber is home to Gigastack which is developing a blueprint for the deployment of industrial-scale renewable hydrogen from offshore wind. The Gigastack project is led by a separate consortium, consisting of ITM Power, Ørsted, Element Energy and Phillips 66.

With the selection of a location for the demonstrator, Oyster is progressing well and will play a valuable role in advancing electrolysis technology for offshore applications,

Michael Dolman, Partner at Element Energy

Due to the high density of energy intensive industries such as refineries, power stations, steel works and glassworks that flank the banks of the Humber, the region is the UK's largest industrial cluster by carbon dioxide emissions; 12.4MtCo2/yr. Decarbonization of the Humber is vital for the UK's legally binding net-zero 2050 target as well as the future economy of the Humber, and renewable hydrogen coupled with offshore wind could play a central role in achieving this ambition.

To realize the potential of offshore hydrogen production, there is a need for compact electrolysis systems that can withstand harsh offshore environments and have minimal maintenance requirements while still meeting cost and performance targets that will allow production of low-cost hydrogen. The Oyster project will provide a major advance towards this aim.

The Oyster electrolyzer system will be designed to be compact, to allow it to be integrated with a single offshore wind turbine, and to follow the turbine's production profile. Furthermore, the electrolyzer system will integrate desalination and water treatment processes, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.

ITM Power is responsible for the development of the electrolyzer system and the electrolyzer trials, while Ørsted will lead the offshore deployment analysis, the feasibility study of future physical offshore electrolyzer deployments, and support ITM Power in the design of the electrolyzer system for marinization and testing. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Element Energy are providing technical and project management expertise.

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