Netherlands-based Tocardo, together with tidal power specialist HydroWing, has launched a tidal hydrogen production storage and offtake platform (THyPSO), a floating plant that generates and stores green hydrogen from the sea. It houses between one and six conventional bi-directional tidal turbines that convert tidal flows into electrical energy.
This then undergoes electrolysis in a hydrogen production unit, converting surrounding sea water into hydrogen which is stored in pressurised tanks for up to two weeks. Hydrogen offtake is scheduled remotely and autonomously, and discharge takes place, in suitable conditions, with an offtake vessel moored downstream of the unit and connected with a pressurised hose.
Hydrogen is much more versatile than electricity and, of course, carbon-free. It can be stored and used in many applications, the companies said, including maritime transport, agriculture, aquaculture, fishing, tourism, leisure, petrochemical and other heavy industries, land transport and grid balancing.
The THyPSO project demonstrates a range of benefits including no links to the grid, thereby saving on costly subsea infrastructure. The technology also gets round the issue of intermittent green electricity production. By producing hydrogen instead of electricity, offtake and distribution can be actively managed and scheduled to suit weather conditions and market demand. Consenting, installation and decommissioning are also likely to be simpler and cheaper than some other renewable energy technologies, the companies said.
The project demonstrates that tidal energy projects are scalable and that larger plants could be introduced around the world as demand for green hydrogen increases.