Ever heard of instability of renewables power production, due to weather conditions? Well yes, that’s a disadvantages of renewables, especially Solar & Wind, but there is a solution that a union of Norwegian companies, lead by TechnipFMC, are working on it. The project is called “Deep Purple” and is based on storing offshore wind energy as hydrogen in the sea bed, using sea water (hydrogen batteries). This is planned to be a solution for what stands for 28% of Norwegian CO2 footprint, offshore oil & gas production, which is 28% of the national CO2 emission.
But what is the actual problem that Deep Purple team is addressing? While producing renewable energies, you can NOT just start power production when it’s needed by the grid and on the contrary one needs to produce energy when the weather condition allows, meaning “sun in the sky” & “wind in the air”. The real life examples of this has been happening in Germany, when the producers were able to produce power, but the grid do NOT have the capacity to accept it.
Meanwhile, the green energy industry is evolving and plans to find a solution for such disadvantages are ongoing on a daily basis. Currently the idea is to utilize various storage solutions (batteries), to store the energy “when it is available” and “consume it when it is needed”. There are several approaches ongoing addressing this situation, varying in approach (chemical, mechanical, etc) but ALL focusing on “storing the available energy”.
Back to Norway, “Deep Purple” project is underway by a multi-company team. Their approach is based on having “hydrogen batteries”, produced of filtered sea water, at sea bed. The idea is to store output of offshore wind farms in seabed hydrogen tanks right under the offshore wind parks. Fuel cells at a later stage, when needed, would re-electrify the hydrogen to provide a “clean” and “stable” source of power.
This concept is intended in the first place to make offshore oil and gas platforms greener, as they stand for 28% of Norwegian CO2 emissions. However it could be easily extended to other applications such as shipping industry, seafood farms, sea ports among other potential target markets for green electricity produced.
The project milestone is to have a large-scale onshore wind pilot from 2021 and hopes to develop a “full-scale pilot” running off Norway by 2025, says Jørn Kristian Lindtvedt.
This article is based on interview with Jørn Kristian Lindtvedt, project contact person at TechnipFMC, and project presentations.