Positive business case producing hydrogen on Oil Platforms North Sea

oil platform s

Important additional returns for society can be that less investment is required in offshore power grid to the extent that existing gas grid can be used to get offshore wind energy onshore.

An interesting study of the Energy Delta Institute remained unnoticed for two months: it could be financially attractive to produce hydrogen at unemployed oil platforms in the North Sea with wind energy that is extracted at sea nearby. 

In a report launched November 2015, EDI presented the findings of a study on a simulated wind-and-gas-energy-conversion pilot project in the North Sea.

oil platforms north sea (map)

In the near future, 600 oil/gas platforms in the Northsea will be unemployed

The problems

  1. An increasingly number of oil/gas platforms has become unemployed in the North Sea (over time there will be 600!), but disconnecting and dismantling these platforms is a financial debacle.
  2. And offshore wind parks need long, expensive cables to transport the energy to the shore. Moreover, the energy loss because of these cable transport is quite a bit.

The possible solution to both problems

Reuse the platforms by transforming it to electrolysis plants that run on energy from the nearby offshore wind farms.

  • It will save costs because of the expensive cables
  • The produced hydrogen (in pure form) can be transported in ships or even through the existing pipes (blended with natural gas) from the oil platforms to land.

Modeling

In the pilot an offshore oil/gas platform is used to convert power from an adjacent offshore wind into hydrogen, methane or syngases with the help of an electolyser and related equipment installed on that platform. The study analyses, with the help of modeling/simulation, risks and barriers but also chances and opportunities.

Hydrogen/syngas

The main finding is that if the green hydrogen/syngas produced on the platform can directly be sold on a dedicated green hydrogen niche market (chemical industry or transportation,) the investment in such an energy offshore conversion and storage unit has a positive business case. Important additional returns for society can be that less investment is required in offshore power grid to the extent that existing gas grid can be used to get offshore wind energy onshore.

The study was carried out by a team led by Prof. Jep, University Groningen (Netherlands)

EDI has been asked to carry out a follow-up feasibility study to relate the findings to one or two concrete North Sea platforms. This study will be carried out with ECN and is scheduled to be finalised by autumn 2016.

Energy Delta Institute, 3 december 2016: EDI completed study on smart energy combination in the Northsea

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