A consortium that plans to deploy large-scale, offshore production of renewable hydrogen has gained $22 million in support from the European Commission, in a move to support the EU’s energy transition from fossil fuels to zero-emission transportation technology.
The grant follows a call for proposals issued by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, co-founded and co-financed by the European Union. The winning bid was from the Hydrogen Offshore Production for Europe (HOPE) project, which is being coordinated by Lhyfe (France) and implemented by eight European partners: Alfa Laval (Denmark), Plug (the Netherlands), Strohm (the Netherlands), EDP NEW (Portugal), ERM (France), CEA (France), POM-West-Vlaanderen (Belgium) and DWR eco (Germany).
The HOPE project involves developing, building, and operating the first 10 MW production unit in the North Sea, off the coast of Belgium, by 2026. The aim is to demonstrate the technical and financial viability of this offshore project, and of pipeline transport for supplying onshore customers.
Finding large-scale sources for commercial hydrogen production is swiftly becoming a key part of many logistics and transportation providers’ plans for zero-carbon and low-emissions operations as they migrate away from fossil fuels. So the plan could provide a model for North American production as well.
According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), hydrogen fuel cells are a clean, reliable, quiet, and efficient source of electric power. They use hydrogen as a fuel to drive an electrochemical process that produces electricity, with water and heat as the only by-products. Supporters like the California Air Resources Board (CARB) say that fuel cell electric cars can carry enough hydrogen for 300 to 400 miles of range, and their tanks can be refilled as quickly as that of a standard car’s gas tank.
Applied to U.S. commercial logistics operations, recent initiatives for using hydrogen fuel cells include a joint venture between freight rail operators Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) and CSX Corp. to build and deploy hydrogen locomotive conversion kits for diesel electric locomotives. And at the Port of Los Angeles, the lift truck manufacturer Hyster Co. is operating a hydrogen fuel cell-powered top-pick container handler.
Additional applications include European projects to create Hydrogen include a land-based site operated by the French firm Lhyfe to fuel commercial trucks, and a fuel cell factory that was launched by the German lift truck manufacturer Kion Group.