Dolphyn hydrogen project accelerates to next phase

Author: Jake Stones

2021/07/05

LONDON (ICIS)--The ERM Deepwater Offshore Local Production of Hydrogen (Dolphyn) project is progressing to its next phase of development, supporting up to 100-300MW of offshore-wind-powered electrolysis within the 2020s, project developers ERM confirmed to ICIS on 2 July.

The ERM Dolphyn project aims to produce hydrogen from floating offshore wind, using electrolysers located on the turbine platforms, therefore avoiding power connections and transporting hydrogen molecules to shore.

Over the last 12 months ERM has been developing the design of a 2MW Dolphyn prototype unit. However, the project is now accelerating as a result of sufficient de-risking, with ERM now moving to develop a 10MW commercial demonstrator project offshore of Aberdeen, Scotland, ERM told ICIS.

“We are wrapping up PRE-FEED [front-end engineering design] on that [the 10MW demonstrator] at the moment and hope to move to FEED in September 2021, completing this in autumn 2022 when a final investment decision on this 10MW project will be made,” ERM said.

Initially the project’s 2MW prototype unit was expected to move into operation by 2024 with the planned 10MW unit installed by 2027.

The commercial demonstrator unit will consist of a 10MW wind turbine with an electrolyser located on the platform. Hydrogen from the unit will then be piped to shore.

The development of the 10MW unit lays the foundations for the next phase of the project, which aims to have 100-300MW commercial development fields across several locations – operating by the late 2020s.

The wind capacity will be used solely for producing green hydrogen, with no grid connections made from the offshore units. This means the project’s impact on power markets is negligible despite large-scale wind power expansion.

Beyond this, the ERM Dolphyn project looks to expand to gigawatt capacity, aiming to have up to 4GW operational by the early 2030s.

The hydrogen produced from such capacity could provide enough energy to heat 1.5m homes, however the commodity can be used for a wide variety of offtakers due to its purity.

A report is currently being compiled to summarise recent research and the decisions made for the project acceleration. The research will be made publicly available under the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Hydrogen Supply Competition, of which ERM Dolphyn was a recipient of £3.1m of phase 2 funding in February 2020.