RWE Joins Effort to Demonstrate H2 Production at Offshore Wind Farm

hydrogen produced at sea from wind farms
Companies are moving to demonstrate the first production of hydrogen offshore linked to wind farms (file photo)

Published Jul 15, 2022 6:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

One of the technologies that are being actively explored seeks to combine offshore wind farms with the production of hydrogen. In the latest development, Germany’s energy giant RWE announced working with its partners it plans to explore the production of hydrogen at sea linked to one of the offshore wind farms it has slated for construction.

The company announced this week that due to the innovative nature of the project it is one of 17 that has been pre-selected by the EU Innovation Fund, one of the world's largest programs for demonstrating innovative low-carbon technologies, for a funding grant. The EU Innovation Fund, which subsidizes breakthrough technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage and carbon capture, use and storage, pre-selected the programs for the preparation of grant agreements, which are now underway.

RWE said with its Canadian partner Northland Power they aim to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of producing hydrogen at sea at the planned Nordsee Two wind farm to be located north of the island of Juist in the North Sea near the border with the Netherlands. The wind farm with a planned grid capacity of 433 megawatts is part of a cluster that the companies plan to develop in a joint venture of which RWE will own 51 percent and Northland Power 49 percent. The wind farm is scheduled to start commercial operations in 2026.

Together, the partners are driving technological advancements in the offshore wind industry. In addition to the newest and most innovative wind turbines, the partners aim to demonstrate the potential for hydrogen produced alongside the wind farm. An electrolyzer is planned to be integrated into the offshore wind farm. The green hydrogen could then be used for vessel fueling and to supply emergency power to the offshore substation or wind turbines.

RWE reports that work is proceeding on the design and development of the project. With the grants that are expected under this program, RWE is developing the project to bring about final investment decisions quickly and to press ahead with the necessary approval procedures.

Several similar projects are also pressing forward in Europe. In May 2022, Vattenfall announced that it had also received funding for a similar pilot project at Vattenfall’s Offshore Wind Farm in Aberdeen Bay in the UK, which will have an output of 8 MW and will be able to produce enough hydrogen every day to power a hydrogen bus. The pilot plans to pipe the hydrogen produced offshore at the wind farm to shore at Aberdeen Harbor.

The project, called Hydrogen Turbine 1, also aims to be the first project in the world to test the full integration of hydrogen production with an offshore wind turbine. Vattenfall’s goal is first production as early as 2025.