Hydrogen (H2) is an energy vector rather than an energy source like wind, wave, tidal and other renewable marine power technologies. Hydrogen can be created, stored, transported, and consumed in a number of common end uses including power generation and transport.
The flexibility of hydrogen, being both a fuel and a storage medium, makes it a key enabler for the wider use of renewable energy sources linking intermittent supply with demand.
The choice of electrical source for electrolysis and distribution of H2 is important when considering round trip efficiency of useful energy, which is considerably greater when renewable power sources are employed to drive it. Very high levels of carbon emissions arise when electricity derived from traditional generation plant is used to produce hydrogen, whereas the use of renewable electricity delivers hydrogen with minimal emissions.
Coupling offshore renewable power sources with hydrogen production and existing offshore and nearshore energy infrastructure (pipelines, platforms, gas reservoirs) would circumvent grid infrastructure barriers that currently present a constraint on the wider deployment of renewable power projects across the North Sea region.
The variety of ways in which hydrogen can be used (storage, transport, smart systems, grid services, industrial, heat) means that there are a wide range of applications in the North Sea region.