World’s first offshore hydrogen pilot returning from sea trials with all objectives ticked off the list

Sealhyfe, an offshore hydrogen production pilot launched in 2022 by French company Lhyfe, has completed sea trials and achieved all objectives set at the time of its launch. Following this, the pilot platform will now return to the Quai des Frégates in Saint-Nazaire.

Courtesy of Lhyfe

Lhyfe launched the world’s first offshore hydrogen production pilot on September 23, 2022, to prove the technical feasibility of such a project and acquire the operational experience needed to quickly scale up.

With this in mind, Sealhyfe was subjected to real offshore conditions over several months and tested on a WAVEGEM floating platform, which has been re-engineered to stabilize the production unit at sea, and connected to Central Nantes’ SEM-REV offshore testing hub operated by the OPEN-C Foundation, which was already linked with a Floatgen floating wind turbine, engineered and operated by BW Ideol.

Lhyfe and its partners designed, built, and assembled the technology necessary for producing hydrogen offshore, including the 1 MW electrolyzer supplied by Plug. The Sealhyfe platform, which is capable of producing up to 400 kilograms of hydrogen a day, began producing its first kilograms of offshore hydrogen on June 20, 2023.

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Testing at the SEM-REV offshore site was the second phase which was focused on a strict comparison with the results initially observed at the quay and then on additional offshore-specific tests (reliability of offshore production of hydrogen in an isolated environment, management of the platform’s movement and environmental stresses, validation of green and renewable hydrogen production software and algorithm).

During this testing period at sea, the platform was subjected to a wide variety of weather situations and was able to carry out a series of tests enabling millions of data to be gathered, Lhyfe said.

The company has now decided to bring the platform back to the dock by the morning of November 25 and analyze the data in greater depth, with the main findings likely to be shared as early as January 2024.

Lhyfe explained that these results will benefit all of its current and future sites, onshore and offshore, and will notably be used as part of the second stage of its development of hydrogen production offshore – the HOPE project.

The HOPE project, which is coordinated by Lhyfe as part of a nine-partner consortium, was selected by the European Commission (EC) under the European Clean Hydrogen Partnership for a €20 million grant. From 2026, this large-scale 10 MW project will be able to produce up to four tonnes a day of green hydrogen at sea, which will be exported ashore by pipeline, and then compressed and delivered to customers.

Lhyfe also has partnership agreements with wind turbine developers and offshore power specialists, such as EDPR, Centrica, and Capital Energy, as well as large-scale offshore projects, such as the Åland Energy Island project with CIP and Flexens, to develop an integrated large-scale renewable energy system based on offshore wind power, including the production of green hydrogen on Åland in Finland.

Matthieu Guesné, Founder and CEO of Lhyfe, said: “We’re extremely proud to have brought this unique experimentation to a successful conclusion, and to have taken a new step on the road to producing hydrogen offshore! Our teams have brought their many skills to bear on this world first. We’re already benefiting from the experience we’ve gained and putting it to good use in our next steps towards offshore production. The production of hydrogen at sea is now a reality, and the countdown to scale up has begun!”