Illustration (Courtesy of TNO)

Dutch take aim at lower green hydrogen costs by combining offshore wind and floating solar

A consortium of Dutch companies has launched a government-backed project to explore the synergies between offshore wind, offshore solar and hydrogen production at sea for improved sustainability of North Sea renewable energy projects.

Illustration (Courtesy of TNO)
Illustration (Courtesy of TNO)
Illustration (Courtesy of TNO)

The four-year project, dubbed Solar Enhanced North Sea Energy Hub (SENSE-HUB), is expected to accelerate the rollout of offshore solar into offshore renewable energy systems.

Let by TNO, short for Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, the project will address the integration of various energy system modules for the Dutch North Sea by understanding and removing the implementation barriers for future SENSE-HUBs from a technical, economical, ecological, legal and societal perspective.

“To success in a reliable and stable future Dutch energy system driven by offshore wind power, the integration with floating solar, hydrogen and storage is crucial.

“The addition of offshore solar with wind can be of critical importance to produce more constant renewable supply and have higher amounts of green hydrogen production at lower costs,” said Iratxe Gonzalez Aparicio, wind energy system integration portfolio manager at TNO.

Project activities will range from the demonstration of an optimized offshore solar system in the North Sea by Oceans of Energy, across ecological monitoring and modelling to understand impacts of hybrid energy parks by NIOZ and Deltares.

The SENSE-HUB concept will be validated in the TNO SWITCH Lab, with the development of techno-economic system designs at GW-scale to be done by TNO, Primo-Marine, and Advanced Electromagnetics.

Developing the necessary legal regulatory frameworks for such integrated energy systems will be done by NewGroundLaw and Primo-Marine, while Deltares will identify the relevant stakeholders and will inform them regularly about the knowledge developed in this project.

The demonstration will take place near the Q13a offshore production platform, located 13 kilometers from Scheveningen.

To remind, the fully electrified, unmanned oil production platform Q13a-A was selected as host for the first ever offshore green hydrogen pilot, PosHYdon back in 2019.

In 2021, the Dutch government granted €3.6 million for the PosHYdon project, enabling the project consortium to start with all activities for the pilot.

“Regardless of the enormous contributions for a more sustainable Europe, the wind infrastructure may end up idle during good, sunny weather and be utilized less in spring and summer. By adding offshore solar to this infrastructure, the complementary energy profile of the sun can result in higher utilizations of the North Sea Energy hubs. And this makes sense.

“We will work on further advancing our technology and collaborate on environmental research and cumulative effects, energy system integration studies with offshore wind and green hydrogen, and implementation studies on a large scale,” Oceans of Energy said in a statement.

The project has been supported by TopSector ‘Energiesubsidie’ of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate of the Netherlands.

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