The Synergy of Hydrogen and Wind: A Powerful Partnership 

Our Low Carbon and Renewables Director explores the synergy between hydrogen and wind power to date and discusses future collaborative projects.

hydrogen pipes with wind turbines in the background

April 15, 2024


The renewable energy sector is entering a new era of sustainability and innovation, marked by a dynamic synergy between hydrogen and wind energy. In my second blog post of the year, I explore how these technologically advanced sectors are not only thriving individually but are also creating powerful collaborative opportunities. This energy partnership is not just about generating cleaner energy, but also about creating a resilient and flexible energy system that can meet the challenges of the future.

The Power of Wind Energy

Wind energy, recognised for its vast potential and sustainability, plays a pivotal role in our transition to cleaner energy sources. The advancements in offshore wind technology have notably enhanced the efficiency and viability of wind energy, making it a cornerstone of renewable energy strategies. As I have written before at length, both solar and wind energy have been the frontrunners in renewable energy for years, and their dominance is expected to continue. The sector's growth is not only contributing to our energy mix but also fostering a significant increase in specialised employment opportunities within wind energy, particularly in offshore roles. Offshore wind and hydrogen have worked in tandem by integrating hydrogen production directly at wind farms, advances that have led to the world’s first hydrogen producing offshore wind turbine, namely Vattenfall's pioneering project in Aberdeen Bay.

The Role of Hydrogen in Renewable Energy

Hydrogen, with its high energy density and versatility, is emerging as a key player in the renewable energy domain. Its ability to be produced through electrolysis, powered by renewable sources such as wind energy, positions hydrogen as a critical component in achieving a zero-carbon future. The development of green hydrogen, in particular, is attracting significant interest for its potential to provide clean, scalable, and flexible energy solutions, further highlighting the growing opportunities within hydrogen recruitment (Casey, 2021). Countries including Morocco, Namibia and the Gulf countries have made the strategic decision to position themselves as net exporters of green hydrogen – a statement of confidence in this energy source. For further insights into recent advancements in this sector, you might find my previous blog post interesting.  

Global Synergising of Hydrogen and Wind Energy

The integration of hydrogen production with wind energy harnesses the strengths of both technologies, offering a solution to the intermittency of wind power and providing a pathway for storing and utilising renewable energy in diverse applications. What excites me is this synergy not only enhances the efficiency and sustainability of energy production, but also opens new avenues for innovation and job creation within the sectors of hydrogen and offshore wind jobs. Hydrogen production from renewable sources, particularly wind energy, is gaining traction globally as nations seek, and people demand, cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. The collaborative efforts in developing and deploying these technologies are crucial for driving forward the renewable energy agenda and achieving decarbonisation targets (Department of Energy, 2022).

The opportunities have been studied in depth, to reference the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (2022) for example, nearly 80% of the world's offshore wind resources, are found in deep waters (beyond 60m) where traditional bottom-fixed turbines are impractical. This presents an immense opportunity for combining floating offshore wind technology with green hydrogen production, thanks to the high-capacity factors of these floating structures.

Moreover, the integration of hydrogen production with offshore wind parks is gaining momentum, with advancements in technology and strategic planning. The production of hydrogen from offshore wind energy offers a solution to challenges such as high installation costs and transmission losses associated with offshore wind farms. The potential configurations for such systems include offshore wind farms paired with either offshore or onshore electrolysers, providing flexibility in hydrogen production and storage. This integration also opens various potential uses for hydrogen, such as in transportation (Power to Mobility), electricity generation (Power to Power), and injection into the gas grid (Power to Gas).

The crossover of collaborations between hydrogen and offshore wind energy is exemplified by several pioneering projects, demonstrating the potential for integrating these technologies to produce green hydrogen. Here are some examples of exciting ventures taking place across the globe.

Scotland presents a vibrant landscape for professionals looking to engage with the offshore wind and hydrogen sectors, reflecting a broader trend across regions investing in renewable energy and green technologies. The nation's commitment to becoming a leading hydrogen economy is evident in its plans to establish 13 Regional Hydrogen Hubs and develop over 80 projects related to hydrogen production, infrastructure, and usage. With a workforce of 76,600 skilled individuals across the energy sector and an impressive 10,500+ companies in the renewable and low carbon industry, Scotland is on the forefront of renewable energy innovation, particularly in hydrogen and offshore wind. For further reading, our CEO has previously written about the potential for Scotland to be a world-leader in the offshore wind sector.  

Another notable example in the UK is the pioneering project by Vattenfall, which received a £9.3 million funding boost from the UK Government's Net Zero Innovation Portfolio Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 fund. This project aims to develop the world's first hydrogen-producing offshore wind turbine, with the electrolyser situated directly on an existing operational turbine at Vattenfall’s Offshore Wind Farm in Aberdeen Bay. The project, known as Hydrogen Turbine 1 (HT1), has the goal of starting production as early as 2025. This initiative underscores the feasibility and efficiency of producing fossil-free hydrogen at scale, directly at the source of wind energy.

Source: Lhyfe

The French success story of Lhyfe is one that I have been following with some interest, their ground-breaking endeavour is the company’s offshore renewable hydrogen production pilot site, which marks a significant step towards the massification of renewable green hydrogen production. Lhyfe has embarked on this venture to demonstrate the viability of producing hydrogen at sea, under extreme conditions, through a floating platform connected to a floating wind turbine. This project is fittingly dubbed Sealhyfe and aims to address multiple challenges, including all stages of hydrogen production at sea and enduring environmental stress. The collaborative effort involves top experts and institutions like Plug Power, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, and Centrale Nantes, positively showcasing the collaborative spirit driving the advancement of offshore hydrogen production.

Further afield, Turkey is collaborating with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to embark on innovative projects in offshore wind energy and hydrogen production. This initiative by Turkey to leverage its wind resources for hydrogen production is in line with global efforts to develop green hydrogen technologies. Additionally, during COP28 in Dubai, energy leaders Masdar and Iberdrola announced a sizeable partnership deal, an ‘up to’ €15b investment to jointly develop offshore wind and green hydrogen markets in various key countries worldwide.

These examples highlight the innovative collaborations and progress being made in harnessing offshore wind energy for green hydrogen production, clearly highlighting the potential for sustainable energy solutions and the decarbonisation of various sectors.

Final Note

There's a lot of interesting progress happening at the intersection of these two promising energy sectors - truly exciting times. For the last 15 years, WeConnect Energy has been at the forefront of energy recruitment, sourcing the right specialists for the roles that matter.

The first quarter of 2024 has laid a solid foundation for our journey into the low carbon and renewable energy recruitment frontier, with wind energy and hydrogen at the very core of our strategy. It's been an exciting journey for the team and I so far and it's great to see that the key players share our commitment towards ensuring there are enough skilled people to meet ambitious decarbonisation targets.  

At WeConnect Energy, our core strength lies in our ability to connect highly skilled professionals with leading-edge roles in the energy sector, ensuring your business not only thrives but leads in innovation and efficiency. I hope you enjoyed this blog article and please reach out to me if I can assist you with your energy recruitment needs.

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