Photo: Illustration; Hydrogen-Producing Offshore Platform; Image source: Tractebel / Tractebel Overdick

Tractebel developing wind-to-hydrogen offshore platform

Belgium engineering firm Tractebel, part of Engie, is developing a concept for an offshore platform that would convert power produced from offshore wind farms into hydrogen using electrolysis.

“Delivering up to 400 MW, this kind of plant exceeds the output of previous technologies many times over. It could already be put into practice today, for example in the North Sea,” Tractebel Engineering said this week, adding that H2 is an efficient energy storage medium that can balance out seasonal fluctuations in renewable energy sources.

The offshore platform would accommodate all the technical components required for production – including electrolysis units, transformers, and desalinization plants.

The means of transport for the energy generated in this way, via pipeline or ship, are flexible, the engineering firm says.

Tractebel has said that the proportion of “green” hydrogen (H2) in the energy mix can be increased on a CO2-neutral basis. The cost, however, is higher compared to the “grey” H2 produced from fossil sources. Tractebel this can be solved by, among other things, a higher tax on CO2 emissions, ensuring “greater equality of opportunities here.”

“The role of Hydrogen (H2) is gaining importance in the energy mix because it serves as an efficient form of storing energy and is easily transportable. Existing infrastructure can be used for the purpose,” Tractebel said.

H2 is used to power gas turbines and fuel cells can be used along with natural gas in private households and is also a key industrial raw material. It can be used as a CO2-neutral reducing agent to substitute coke in steel production, the company said.

“The critical cost factor is the design of the system and the efficiency of the plants. The Tractebel concept includes the appropriate solutions for cost-optimised designs and efficient operation. Tractebel is in a position to undertake all the engineering services for every stage of planning, from the feasibility study through to the detailed design. Moreover, as part of the ENGIE Group, the company is in a perfect position to deliver and operate offshore H2 platforms as an EPC supplier and to offer solutions for large-scale storage,” Tractebel added.

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