Successful workshop on ‘offshore hydrogen production’
The first cluster activity of the year was an inspiring workshop last week devoted to offshore conversion of wind energy to hydrogen. In the Netherlands a growing interest in this topic exists, due to the strong offshore (gas) experience and infrastructure in the country. Moreover, the interest in hydrogen is stimulated by the recent issues with natural gas exploitation.
The cluster invited three Dutch speakers who provided the public with more insights in the long term plans for offshore wind farms and energy islands in the Netherlands:
- Marcel Weeda from ECN presented the results of a study into the possibilities for the integration of large quantities of offshore wind energy in the North Sea in the energy supply of the surrounding countries. The offshore conversion of wind energy to hydrogen - with transport to the coast via pipelines - is presented as one of the possible options. If a market for sustainable hydrogen develops, offshore conversion appears to offer an added value. This because of considerably lower investment costs for pipelines to the coast compared to electricity cables.
- René Peters from TNO explained how the existing oil and gas infrastructure in the North Sea - empty gas reservoirs, platforms and pipelines - can possibly be reused for conversion, transport and storage of hydrogen, that is produced from wind energy via power-to-gas.
- Gert van der Lee from TENNET, the Dutch electricity transmission operator, discussed the role which hydrogen can play in the future hydrogen transition. The total identified hydrogen demand - in different sectors such as chemistry, heating, heavy-duty transport, sea shipping and aviation - is much higher than what can be produced by local renewable energy sources. Thus, future energy import seems crucial.
It is clear that the Netherlands are strongly focussing on hydrogen as one of the building blocks in the energy transition. The first demonstration projects on offshore energy conversion and the use of gas pipelines to transport hydrogen are being prepared.