Business

The world race for ocean hydrogen will pass through Nantes

Published on Friday, September 23, 2022 at 07:07

Offshore wind generators generate electrical energy. They may also produce hydrogen, as Lhyfe’s floating pilot plant, a younger French startup with international ambitions, desires to reveal as quickly as doable and earlier than everybody else.

Stocks are enormous, hydrogen is at present the principle medium for greening chemistry, business and heavy transport, offered it’s produced utilizing low-carbon vitality.

Lhyfe, created in 2017 and devoted to this purpose, due to this fact offered on Thursday this pilot platform, a wind turbine for six months of testing within the port of Saint-Nazaire, earlier than transferring 20 km off the French coast for twelve months.

“This offshore manufacturing platform is a world first, the purpose is to finally combine renewable hydrogen manufacturing offshore”, explains Mathieu Guesne, CEO of this Nantes firm. “Today, many individuals are speaking about renewable hydrogen, however few are doing it. We wish to cleared the path.”

In the 300 m2 lemon-yellow barge, a vessel comprises an electrolyzer, which makes use of electrical energy to interrupt down water molecules (H2O) to supply hydrogen (H2). The present comes from the wind turbine and the seawater is desalinated by a “basic” membrane desalination system on board in a second vessel.

– “Hurry up” –

But why offshore wind generators fairly than land?

The produced hydrogen will be transported on land by a standard gasoline pipeline, cheaper than an electrical connection when transferring away from the coast, the builders argue. And in contrast to electrical present, it’s simply saved.

Offshore wind generators are way more highly effective than onshore ones. “And the additional we’re from the coast, the extra vitality it produces,” added Mr Guesne.

Floating electrolysers will be connected to present parks. Hydrogen demand may additionally justify devoted parks, they are saying in LIFE, the place Germany is anticipating the following name for tenders.

In the meantime, the crew wants to make sure that the electrolyzer, produced by American Plug Power, is immune to therapeutic, waves and corrosion and will nonetheless be capable of optimize the dimensions of apparatus or upkeep.

At its Vendée plant outfitted with three offshore wind generators, Lhyfe has already been in a position to confirm that it produces hydrogen with clear water and intermittent vitality. Over the previous 12 months, it has been supplying buses to La Roche-sur-Yon, Lidl forklifts, and so forth.

– “Change the world a little bit” –

At sea, Lhyfe is aiming for a manufacturing capability of 400 kg/day, or 1 megawatt (MW), the equal of 100 full vehicles with its demonstrator. By 2030, it plans to supply 3 gigawatts (GW).

“These are the sort of pioneering tasks that may change the world a bit and the pace at which others get entangled,” says Ole Höfelmann, managing director of Plug Power.

He talked about one other massive 1GW undertaking in Denmark. Swedish vitality firm Vattenfall has introduced that it’s constructing a wind turbine undertaking in Scotland devoted to hydrogen, however manufacturing isn’t anticipated earlier than 2025.

At Lhyfe, we “wish to go quick”, explains the technical director.

This pilot referred to as Sealyfe took simply 18 months to develop. This multi-million euro undertaking, which has acquired help from the area and Adem, additionally helps a complete ecosystem that has developed lately round offshore wind vitality between Nantes and Saint-Nazaire: the port, the Chantiers de l’Atlantique, or the Ecole Central de Nantes which will host the demonstrator at its experimental base at sea.

In the face of world warming, “we’re lagging behind”, notes Bertrand Alessandrini, Central’s researcher and growth director. “But we’ve a world first right here, and we’re going as quick as we are able to”.

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