Beginning in March 2022, Newcastle Marine Services (NMS) undertook a data collection exercise, seeking to gather data from all the project partners and supporters with regards to key questions about the project.
This consultation, with data gathered via data collection forms, was then summarised in the Maritime H2 Hydrogen Highway Roadmap document, issued in April 2022.
Since this first issue, periodic updates have been added, to cover significant progress made in the previous period. The last update was issued in March 2023, with the next scheduled for May 2023. This will continue until the end of the project.
The original documents and the updates are intended to serve as a brief record of the progress made across the project, and a reference for all partners given the scope of the project and the number of partners involved, to allow everyone connected with the hydrogen highway to better understand the various aspects of the project and how each work package is progressing.
Topics covered so far, and updates provided, include:
- Feedback from UK ports regarding their views on hydrogen storage, use and transportation from their sites.
- Review of economic considerations for the generation of offshore power.
- Review of hydrogen storage formats, and the decision matrix for the selection.
- Refinement and specification of the offshore generation platforms.
- Progress made in the mapping of the end-user network on-land.
Work Package 3 of Marine Hydrogen Highway project aims to design an Offshore Green Hydrogen System (OGHS) as the offshore terminal for the offshore H2 highway. This system integrates hydrogen production, storage, and offloading modules on a centralized offshore platform. Two designs have been proposed to meet the offshore hydrogen demand in the UK:
- A newly designed floating concept. It will be operated in deep Scottish water, serving as a centralised platform for a floating wind farm.
- A bottom-fixed platform. It is retrofitted from an oil and gas rig, serving an existing wind farm in shallow water close to the rig.
The modular design is adopted for these hydrogen platforms, which enables excellent scalability of the designed concept. The main add-on modulars include the hydrogen production, storage, and offloading units. In order to create a seamless land-sea interface for hydrogen transportation, the project proposes to adopt compressed hydrogen solution, and the containerised storage tanks can be effectively transported from the platform to the hydrogen transfer vessels with the assistance of a pre-installed crane on board. These hydrogen containers then can be transported to the ports with minimum land-based infrastructures before they reach the end users on land.
The key partners involved in this WP include the University of Strathclyde, OS Energy and ORE Catapult.
A core task and deliverable within WP4 corresponds to the development of the supply chain and distribution network design and optimisation with the objective of minimising the cost of each kg H2 that is ultimately delivered at the downstream of the hydrogen highway to the end users, i.e., at hydrogen refuelling points. Alongside any cost minimising solution, the optimisation module aims to minimise the total life cycle emissions, or in case of observed conflicts, to strike a right balance between cost and emission objectives.
For a seamless sea and land integration of the hydrogen highway through multimodal transportation, containerised storage of compressed gaseous hydrogen (i.e., CH2) provides the greatest level of flexibility. Containerised CH2 can be transferred between production points to vessels, and from vessels to trailer trucks for landside operations. With this key understanding, UoK has been able to draft an initial modelling framework well in advance of its scheduled tasks, which will be appropriately populated with the input parameters and data as the project evolves.
As is shown in the example representation in the Figure, the developed supply chain and distribution network design module will yield a clear configuration of the chain entities and their interaction specifying a number of outputs such as the optimal location, size, and technology of production facilities, the optimal location, size, and technology of storage/terminal facilities, and the optimal transport modes linking production, storage, and distribution (i.e., demand points).
Work Package 6 of the Marine Hydrogen Highway is currently focussed on the identification of infrastructure scenarios; several discussions and a workshop (20/11/2022) with the WP partners have been undertaken to complete this task. The approach taken has considered how a hydrogen network infrastructure could evolve since the start of its deployment. Therefore, three scenarios representing theoretical short term, medium term and long term infrastructure have been developed for further study.
The gathered information as part of this activity will be taken forward to a series of hazards workshops, in which the potential hazards of the identified infrastructure scenarios will be evaluated. Specialists from different disciplines and different organisations will take part in the hazards workshops (18/04/2023 and 04/05/2023).
It is acknowledged that the concepts presented and the assumptions made in the infrastructure scenarios may present technical challenges and may not reflect what is developed in the future; however, the intention of developing these concepts is for them to be used to identify potential hazards that could be derived from the elements included in the infrastructure. In addition, the differences in the three scenarios are intended to explore different options and their impact on hazards.