UK Leasing

Hydrogen – A Scottish ‘road to market’ island for offshore wind?

Offshore Wind Power Limited has announced that it is investigating the use of offshore wind to power industrial-scale green hydrogen production on the Isle of Flotta in Orkney, Scotland.

Green hydrogen is produced by using carbonless electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The process is carbon neutral, but the production of green hydrogen is expensive and is currently expected to remain so until at least 2030. While generating electricity to create green hydrogen is inefficient in many ways, it does have some benefits. Hydrogen is energy dense when properly stored and released and has the potential to replace fossil fuels in many cases. Moreover, if the hydrogen energy is released in a proper way, it is free from pollution and releases water as a by-product. If the difficulties of manufacturing, storing, transporting and distributing hydrogen are overcome, and this can be done cost-effectively, there is a potential supply for heavy transport, shipping and potentially aviation.

The OWPL consortium, formed by Macquarie’s green investment group, TotalEnergies and Scottish developer Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG), has submitted a proposal to Crown Estate Scotland’s (ScotWind) offshore wind lease round to develop the area of option of the N1 plan west of Orkney. If successful, his proposal, called West of Orkney Windfarm, could provide renewable energy to a green hydrogen production facility at the Flotta terminal.

Plans to power the proposed Flotta Hydrogen Hub are being developed by OWPL in partnership with Flotta Terminal owner Repsol Sinopec and Uniper. The proposal is also locally supported by EMEC Hydrogen.

“We believe green hydrogen could provide a critical alternative route to market for some of Scotland’s largest offshore wind projects and play an important role in creating wider economic benefits as the North Sea crosses its path. energetic transition. We look forward to working with Flotta partners to further develop this proposal, ”said Edward Northam, Head of Green Investment Group Europe.

Hydrogen has now been “colorized” – green, blue, gray, brown and black, where the colors represent the processes used to produce hydrogen and to some extent the pollution caused by the process. Aside from green, the others all emit varying degrees of pollutants, although blue is claimed to be better. Blue hydrogen is produced using the same reforming process used to create gray, brown and black hydrogen, but the CO that would normally be released is captured and stored (CCS).

“TotalEnergies believes in the potential of renewable offshore wind power to produce green hydrogen, supporting our companies to meet their ambition in terms of carbon neutrality. With our wind farm project west of Orkney, it is possible to create one of the first green hydrogen plants in the world in Orkney. It’s an exciting plan, and we look forward to working on it with our partners and Orkney stakeholders ”,
commented Julien Pouget Senior Vice President Renewables, TotalEnergies.

“The production of green hydrogen is an extremely exciting opportunity for offshore wind and the Scottish supply chain. Projects with large capacity factors, such as the wind farm west of Orkney, could provide highly competitive electricity to facilities such as the Flotta Hydrogen Hub which could, in turn, meet the demand for hydrogen. both nationally and internationally.

“We are therefore committed to working exclusively with our partners to study this opportunity in depth and we have already carried out cable routing assessments and coastal geophysical surveys to better understand the practicalities of project delivery,” said Mike Hay, RIDG Commercial Director.

“Flotta is an ideal place for the production of green hydrogen – it is surrounded by the best wind resource in Europe, it is close to the main sea routes in the vast natural harbor of Scapa Flow. Now is the time to maximize the incredible natural assets and geography of Flow and Orkney Islands to ensure a long-term sustainable and climate-friendly future for our communities.

“We are very open to business and ready to work with potential investors and operators to develop the important strategic and international opportunities that our islands offer. The potential here is immense and we, as a Council, will do all we can to support and enable this brilliant new opportunity, ”commented James Stockan, CEO, Uniper Hydrogen, leader of the Orkney Islands Council.

“Uniper is a pioneer in the field of hydrogen production and we are already bringing our expertise and experience to an ever-expanding portfolio of projects in a number of markets, in Europe and the UK. The Flotta Hydrogen Hub is an exciting concept, with the potential to deliver green hydrogen to domestic and export markets. We are now awaiting the outcome of the lease cycle for the ScotWind offshore wind farm, with the expectation that the proposal can then proceed, ”said Dr Axel Wietfeld, CEO of Uniper Hydrogen.

“We fully support our industry’s transition to clean, green energy and a secure future for skilled oil and gas workers in Scotland and across the UK. We have a strategic roadmap, supported by our shareholders and aligned with each of their strategic ambitions, including the energy transition.

“The Flotta terminal has been in operation since 1976 and has made a significant contribution to the economy and communities of Orkney for over 40 years. This project would allow the terminal to gradually transform over time into a diversified energy hub where conventional oil and gas operations continue, coexisting with the development of a long-term sustainable green future for the facility. The reallocation of Flotta will require the support of local stakeholders, the retention and development of the current workforce as well as the creation of long-term skilled jobs during construction and hydrogen operations, ”said José Luis Muñoz, CEO of Repsol Sinopec.

“Orkney is well advanced in its ambition to be the global center of excellence for research and demonstration of how the hydrogen economy works of the future. We generated the world’s first green hydrogen powered by tides in 2017 at EMEC’s ​​tidal test site and led various green hydrogen projects exploring production, logistics and end use.

“For this project to materialize, several vital elements will have to be put in place, including a green hydrogen market. We are delighted to be working with our offshore wind partners in pursuit of this goal and are already in discussion with the Scottish and UK governments to explore the mechanisms needed to make this vision a reality, ”commented Neil Kermode, Managing Director of EMEC.

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