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EU OYSTER consortium chooses Grimsby for innovative hydrogen project
Grimsby has been chosen as the location for an innovative ‘marinised’ electrolyser project for renewable hydrogen production.
Reaching the EU Hydrogen Strategy target of 40 GW of electrolysers by 2030 is expected to require both onshore and offshore electrolysers. The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) funded 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 marinised electrolyser in a shoreside pilot trial located in Grimsby. The project will also explore the feasibility and potential of combining an offshore wind turbine directly with an electrolyser and transporting renewable hydrogen to shore. The project is 100% funded by the FCH JU, a public private partnership of the European Commission, who awarded the project €5mn in January 2021.
Grimsby is home to the operations and maintenance (O&M) hub for Ørsted's UK East Coast operations, including Hornsea One and Hornsea Two, which will be the world's largest offshore wind farm when completed in 2022. The Humber is also 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.
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 CO2 emissions – some 12.4mn tCO2/y. Decarbonisation of the Humber is vital for the UK's legally binding net zero 2050 target, and renewable hydrogen coupled with offshore wind could play a central role in achieving this ambition.
To realise 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 goal.
The OYSTER electrolyser 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 electrolyser system will integrate desalination and water treatment processes, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.