To meet the Paris Agreement targets, the world needs to transition to a deeply decarbonized energy system. In addition to energy efficiency gains, this will require greater renewable power generation and electrification, and the scaling of technologies to reduce the carbon footprint.
Hydrogen is recognized to play a key role ensuring renewable power exploitation without overloading the grid and acting as energy storage medium to harmonize continuous power requirements with the intermittency of the renewables.
From a global solutions provider perspective, there is the need to reassess the technological and intellectual portfolio to overcome the new challenges posed by these new scenarios.
In this context, Saipem spent an important effort on designing a safe and efficient offshore green hydrogen production and storage module placed onto offshore facilties.
Looking at the offshore hydrogen value chain, the focus has been dedicated to the sea water treatment, hydrogen production and hydrogen storage building blocks.
A summary of the state of art technologies for hydrogen production and storage is provided. In particular, the rationale behind the technologies choice is explained: reverse osmosis for the sea water treatment, Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) for the water electrolysis and Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) for hydrogen storage. In addition, the design basis and main technical and economic outcomes are reported.
A very important topic addressed by the paper is safety: the offshore green hydrogen production and storage module was designed in compliance with international codes and standards, in particular the provisions and designs of safety and loss prevention systems. Some highlights from the safety regulatory framework investigation are provided.
This work adds an important brick in the picture of the new plants required by the energy transition, demonstrating the technical feasibility and constructability of an offshore hydrogen production and storage system.