French renewable energy company Lhyfe reports that its pilot project Sealhyfe has produced the first kilos of green hydrogen from the first offshore hydrogen production platform. Sealhyfe is now connected to the subsea hub off Le Croisic, France in the Atlantic powered by a floating wind turbine, designed to demonstrate the potential and provide critical experience as the company works to scale up to large-scale offshore green hydrogen production.
The pilot hydrogen production platform was towed to the test site just over 12 miles offshore on May 19 to begin the second phase of its testing. It was then connected to the subsea hub at the SEM-REV offshore testing site using a dedicated umbilical cable that was specially designed for the hydrogen application. The hub is linked with a wind turbine, FLOATGEN, a 2 MW floating turbine engineered and operated by BW Ideol.
The platform began producing its first kilos of offshore hydrogen as of June 20, marking what Lhyfe is calling “a decisive milestone for the future of the sector.” It is the first of several projects that seeks to use power generated from offshore wind farms to develop a supply of green hydrogen that can be used as a decarbonizing fuel for industrial applications, including possibly in the maritime sector.
In launching the world’s first offshore hydrogen production pilot, Lhyfe says it wanted to prove the technical feasibility of such a project and acquire the operational experience needed to quickly scale up. Lhyfe and its partners designed, built and assembled all the technology necessary for producing hydrogen offshore, including the 1 MW electrolyzer supplied by Plug, in just 16 months. The Sealhyfe platform, which is less than 200 sq. meters in area, is capable of producing up to 400 kilograms of hydrogen a day.
From September 2022 to May 2023, Sealhyfe was moored at the Quai des Frégates, in the Port of Saint-Nazaire, France for a series of start-up tests. This included benchmarking the platform to provide comparison data for the second phase trial offshore. Systems were also optimized including the development of the software and algorithm building blocks necessary to manage the site remotely.
The platform will now replicate the previous tests of producing hydrogen offshore, under the toughest conditions. The company says it voluntarily chose to confront Sealhyfe with the toughest conditions offshore to test operations under real conditions. The floating platform was re-engineered to stabilize the production unit at sea.
Lhyfe is also preparing to move to the next stage of the demonstrations working with a consortium of nine partners to proceed to a large-scale project (10 MW) that will be able to produce up to four tonnes a day of green hydrogen at sea. The concept calls for exporting the hydrogen ashore by pipeline, and then compressed and delivered to commercial customers. Known as Project Hope, Lhyfe and its partners have been selected by the European Commission under the European Clean Hydrogen Partnership and are being awarded a €20 million grant as part of the goal to gear up to commercial scale.
Through these two pioneering projects in offshore hydrogen production, Lhyfe aims to validate industrial solutions for the production of green hydrogen. Their goal is to contribute to achieving the target set by the European Commission as part of the REPowerEU plan which calls for 10 million tonnes of clean hydrogen produced in the European Union by 2030.