World’s first offshore green hydrogen production platform inaugurated in France

Lhyfe, one of the world’s pioneers in the production of green and renewable hydrogen, has inaugurated its offshore renewable green hydrogen production demonstrator in Saint-Nazaire, France.

The inauguration ceremony for Sealhyfe platform (Courtesy of Lhyfe)
The inauguration ceremony for Sealhyfe platform (Courtesy of Lhyfe)

The platform, dubbed Sealhyfe, is starting an 18-month experimental period, first at quay in Saint-Nazaire, and then on the offshore testing site SEM-REV, operated by French engineering school Centrale Nantes.

This is the first time in the world that renewable hydrogen will be produced at sea, according to Lhyfe.

The electrolyser was supplied and optimized for the operating conditions by Plug Power, which developed the production unit together with Lhyfe, as the first electrolyser capable of operating on a floating platform.

The unit was installed on the WAVEGEM wave energy platform, developed by Geps Techno.

At the end of the quayside test phase, the Sealhyfe platform will be deployed at the SEM-REV offshore testing area, off the coast of Le Croisic, about 20 kilometers from the coast.

The device will then be supplied with electricity by BW Ideol’s landmark floating offshore wind turbine Floatgen, installed at the offshore test site since 2018.

Matthieu Guesné, CEO and founder of Lhyfe: “At Lhyfe, we have only one aim: to leave a more breathable planet for our children. This is why we once again wanted to take up a major technological challenge, to prove – by producing hydrogen at sea for the first time – that it is possible to do it as of today.

The project also benefited from the expertise of other French offshore and marine renewable energy players.

These include Chantiers de l’Atlantique which worked on enhancing the resilience of the system to environmental stress, and the electrical architecture of the system, and Kraken Subsea Solutions, which participated in the design of the underwater electrical connection to the renewable marine energies produced on the SEM-REV platform.

A multi-phase trial for the world’s first demonstrator

Sealhyfe platform – the world’s first offshore green hydrogen production unit (Courtesy of Lhyfe)
Sealhyfe platform – the world’s first offshore green hydrogen production unit (Courtesy of Lhyfe)

A first six-month trial phase is being started at quay, in the port of Saint-Nazaire, to obtain initial reference measurements and test all of the systems, including desalination and cooling systems, stack behavior, remote control, energy management, resistance to environmental conditions, among others.

At the end of this first stage, Sealhyfe will spend one full year off the Atlantic coast, Lhyfe said.

It will be installed less than one kilometer from the floating wind turbine, fixed to the ground by a system of anchors and connected to the site’s underwater hub using an umbilical designed and dedicated for energy and data transfer.

At the end of this trial, Lhyfe expects to have a substantial volume of data, which should allow it to design mature offshore production systems, and to deploy proven technologies on a large scale, in keeping with the EU’s objective to produce 10 million tonnes a year of renewable hydrogen by 2030.

Sealhyfe has the capacity to produce up to 400kg of renewable green hydrogen a day, equivalent to 1MW of power, according to Lhyfe.

Producing hydrogen at sea: A global challenge to be tackled

Matthieu Guesné, CEO and founder of Lhyfe during inauguration ceremony (Courtesy of Lhyfe)
Matthieu Guesné, CEO and founder of Lhyfe during inauguration ceremony (Courtesy of Lhyfe)

Around the world, the race for hydrogen is on and the development of offshore wind farms is booming.

Lhyfe – which inaugurated the world’s first site for the production of hydrogen from onshore wind turbines in September 2021 and which is currently preparing to deploy its solutions Europe-wide – is convinced of the central role offshore has to play in the massification of renewable green hydrogen production.

Producing hydrogen using offshore wind turbines could allow all countries with a coastline to access renewable green hydrogen, produced locally, beyond the horizon line, and in industrial quantities, to decarbonize transportation and industry, according to Lhyfe.

“By paving the way for the mass production of renewable hydrogen at sea, Sealhyfe is fully in line with the EU’s strategy to deploy an offshore hydrogen chain, and wishes to help build the energy sovereignty of countries,” Guesné added.


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Note: The original article, published on September 22, 2022, has been updated and expanded with official information provided by Lhyfe.