Hydrogen as a low-carbon energy carrier plays an important role in achieving climate targets, decarbonizing industry and also in the issue of security of supply. Hydrogen production in the EU will have to be ramped up to meet rising demand.
In the process, the European community faces complex decisions: Where should hydrogen production take place, on- or offshore? Should the energy transport be done with power cables or hydrogen lines? And what are the benefits of an offshore hydrogen interconnected grid? A new study provides important answers to these questions.
The study “Specification of a European Offshore Hydrogen Backbone”, commissioned by DNV from the infrastructure operators GASCADE and Fluxys, highlights the significant benefits of an offshore hydrogen backbone in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. The energy generation potential of offshore wind farms on the high seas is immense and may even be beyond the capacity limits of the grid. According to the DNV study, offshore hydrogen production connected by pipeline is cheaper than onshore production.
“The EU projects a demand for climate-neutral hydrogen of 2,000 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2050, and DNV sees the potential to produce 300 TWh of hydrogen per year by 2050 using electricity generated by offshore wind farms in the North Sea. This would be a significant contribution to reducing dependence on imported energy. In view of recent events, the positive aspect in terms of security of supply can hardly be overestimated,” says Ulrich Benterbusch, Managing Director of GASCADE.
Because of the lower cost of hydrogen transport compared to electricity transmission and the possibility of large pipelines transporting offshore hydrogen from multiple wind farms, the report ranks offshore hydrogen production as an attractive option for offshore wind generation, especially when located more than 100 kilometers from land.