Siemens Energy Leads Offshore Wind Power-to-X Project

Siemens Energy is coordinating a project which aims to couple offshore wind turbines with electrolyzers for direct conversion of the electricity into hydrogen.

In addition, the project will also investigate further offshore power-to-X processes.

The four-year H2Mare project comprises four joint projects with a total of 35 partners, including the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft institutes.

The project will be funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with over EUR 100 million, Fraunhofer IWES said.

H2Mare will consider the entire value creation chain, from wind energy generation and hydrogen production to the conversion of hydrogen into methane, liquid hydrocarbons, methanol, or ammonia right up to use in industry or the energy sector. As such, various industrial downstream uses and storage options are possible. The goal is a significant cost advantage in the production of large volumes of hydrogen, Fraunhofer IWES said.

”Together with our partners, we want to establish the production of green hydrogen offshore with H2Mare,” said Christian Bruch, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Energy AG.

”We are bringing in our offshore wind and electrification capabilities as well as our expertise in electrolysis. H2Mare unites the strengths of research and industry – for sustainable decarbonization of the economy and to the benefit of the environment. We need the support of politics to drive forward innovative solutions for a green hydrogen economy.”

The four H2Mare projects include OffgridWind which pursues the implementation of a turbine concept that realizes electrolysis directly in the offshore wind turbine, thereby aiming for a high degree of efficiency.

The second joint project is H2Wind which aims to develop a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis system optimally adapted to the offshore environment and tuned to the wind turbine. In addition to the durability of the turbines and the challenge of processing seawater, the maximum yield of wind energy is one of the project’s goals.

The PtX-Wind project focuses on conversion to more easily transportable, synthetic energy carriers and fuels, such as methane, methanol, and ammonia. The power-to-X products are produced via high-temperature electrolysis and CO2 extraction from the air or sea. Direct saltwater electrolysis is also being tested.

The fourth and final project, TransferWind, addresses the transfer of knowledge to the public as well as the exchange of expertise across projects. At the same time, it also considers safety and environmental issues as well as infrastructure requirements.

One important aspect of the investigations is the integration of individual processes into complete systems, the researchers said. For example, the efficiency of the overall process can be increased by the heat integration of high-temperature electrolysis in PtX processes. This also includes the concepts for storing and transporting the hydrogen and other power-to-X products back to land by ship and pipeline. The project explores, evaluates, and further develops the interactions between the different processes and the turbine as well as their impact on the surrounding environment at the site over the wind turbine’s entire life cycle.

One challenge at a material level is the use of existing technology in an offshore environment for the first time and the research and development of new materials and components for offshore use. The development of digital twins for the different system components and the technical and economic analyses based on them also forms part of all four H2Mare projects.

H2Mare is one of three flagship projects being conducted by BMBF, which is supporting Germany’s entry into the hydrogen economy with its largest initiative regarding the energy transition to date. The three hydrogen flagship projects H2Giga, H2Mare, and TransHyDE are the result of an ideas competition and represent a central contribution on the part of the BMBF to the implementation of the National Hydrogen Strategy.

They are intended to remove existing hurdles impeding Germany’s entry into a hydrogen economy over the next four years. The goals of the projects are the serial production of large-scale water electrolyzers (H2Giga), the production of hydrogen and downstream products at sea (H2Mare), and the development of technologies for the transport of hydrogen (TransHyDE).

More than 240 partners from science and industry are working together on the projects which were launched on the basis of non-binding funding promises in the spring. In total, the funding will amount up to EUR 740 million.

Fraunhofer IWES participates as project partner in OffgridWind, H2Wind and as associated partner in TransferWind. Scientists model various scenarios of hydrogen generating wind farms and conduct specific tests concerning waste heat utilization and sea water treatment.

Photo: Project Management Jülich (PtJ) on behalf of the BMBF