Hydrogen as an Energy Carrier for Offshore Renewables

sunset with wind turbines

The global demand for energy, according to BNEF, is expected to surge 60% by 2050 requiring huge investments in grids infrastructure to protect them from being out of service.

Award
MRes | MPhil | PhD | MSc by Research
Start Date
Usually February and October - at individual School's discretion

Summary

The global investment in grid infrastructure could increase to $28.7 trillion during that time to support the increase in renewable capacity. It’s estimated that Europe will need to spend about $4.9 trillion on its grids, with about 45% of that for strengthening the existing infrastructure. Given that about 70% of Europe’s power capacity is to be from wind and solar by 2050, it became crucial to find better ways to collect and distribute this energy to make the system more resilient. In line with the recent Global Hydrogen announcements, the proposed project aims investigating a novel idea of implementing hydrogen as the energy carrier for offshore renewables. The project will investigate replacing the conventional electricity transmission via subsea electrical power cables by H2 transmission via re-purposed pipelines as an imposing solution for employing more offshore-renewables generation while moving towards the Net Zero Target. The proposed Renewable-Hydrogen-Based energy transmission will be employed to transmit green hydrogen instead of electricity. This green H2 can then be changed back to clean electricity at the point of use, thus decarbonizing the electricity sector while eliminating the power transmission losses. This clean H2 can also be used for heating, or as a feedstock for industrial processes like the production of ammonia and can also be directly used in fueling stations for transport needs, thus contributing to the decarbonization of the heat, industrial and transport sectors.

The work under this project idea will involve a number of sub-studies including:

  • Evaluating the proposed hydrogen transmission versus the conventional electricity transmission.
  • Sizing the generation of green hydrogen from offshore renewables with the H2 energy transmission and developing a model for simulating the system.
  • Analyzing the interchange of subsea cables by hydrogen pipelines from technical, economic, and environmental aspects.
  • Evaluating the repurposing existing Oil & Gas infrastructure (distribution networks, pressure regulation, compressors etc.) and investigating their use for the hydrogen transmission from the viewpoint of flow assurance, economics-of-scale, and technical challenges (e.g., Hydrogen embrittlement of pipeline steels).
  • Investigating the utilization of the carried H2 energy in fueling stations versus using it in fuel cells to change it back to electricity at the point of use.

The investigation and validation of the developed simulations is to be implemented on a case study scenario where an offshore renewable (wind farm) will be selected to feed the energy needs of a hypothetical city using the renewable-green H2 as the energy carrier.

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For Academic Year 2022/2023

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