A consortium of energy firms has announced plans to develop an innovative concept for North Sea green hydrogen production.
It will involve an electrolyser system being deployed on a converted jack-up rig to allow the emissions free fuel to be produced at sea.
Reliable winds in the middle of the North Sea make the region well suited to renewable energy generation.
But remote locations create challenges around grid connectivity and intermittency of supply.
The consortium is hopeful its solution will solve this issue by providing an off take for the electricity produced in the immediate vicinity of the wind farm.
By using existing platforms, pipelines, terminal infrastructure, and offshore equipment, they’re also be able to keep costs to a minimum and breathe new life into assets.
It will also enhance the commercial feasibility of remote offshore wind projects.
The Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC) recently released a report that examined how ageing North Sea infrastructure could be repurposed for wind-powered hydrogen production.
Darren Sutherland, director of operations at Borr Drilling, said: “With our expertise in complex offshore operations and fleet management, Borr Drilling will leverage its core capabilities to evaluate the adoption of this alternative energy source in an environment with a large untapped potential.
“While we will continue to work in our traditional drilling market, this project reinforces our ambition to continuously improve the sustainability of our activities and align our service offering with the changing expectations of our customers and stakeholders.”
While the concept is still in its early stages, the consortium has asked interested parties to submit enquiries.
Matthieu Guesné, chief executive at Lhyfe, said: “Lhyfe is already producing renewable hydrogen in industrial quantities onshore, with a direct connection to renewable energy, pumping sea water and purifying it to feed the electrolysis process.
“This is hence a production process already considering offshore harsh conditions. Over the last few years, we have also been working on different projects to deploy our production process offshore.
“Offshore wind offers the greatest potential for sustainable hydrogen production because of the cost effectiveness that can be achieved through scalability and technological innovation.
“The market is yet to deliver a flexible solution that benefits from the existing infrastructure in the North Sea and Lhyfe wants to be at the forefront of this change by creating a world-first green hydrogen production of this kind.”
James Larnder, managing director at Aquaterra Energy, added: “With years of experience in successful delivery of complicated offshore jack up operations, complex structural projects and offshore process systems we are excited to be the interface that brings together the interest of Lhyfe in offshore markets and expands on Borr Drilling’s expertise in jack-up rig equipment.
“Our unique value here is that we are multilingual in terms of the engineering and operational needs of oil and gas assets, and green energy processing systems. We’re looking forward to taking this from concept to reality.”