ERM has contracted Principle Power to advance the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) for a wind-to-hydrogen Dolphyn 10-MW demonstrator project off the coast of Aberdeen. The contract was signed after the UK Government awarded ERM Dolphyn £ 8.62 million of funding.
ERM Dolphyn (Deepwater Offshore Local Production of HYdrogeN) has developed a concept design to produce large-scale green hydrogen from floating offshore wind. The ERM Dolphyn concept employs a modular design integrating electrolysis and a wind turbine on a moored floating semi-submersible platform based upon Principle Power’s proven WindFloat technology. This technology produces hydrogen from seawater, using wind power as the energy source.
ERM and Principle Power have been collaborating on the development of decentralised hydrogen production opportunities since 2019.
To meet net-zero ambitions, hydrogen from offshore floating wind needs to be a significant component in any viable long-term solution,’ says David Caine, partner, ERM. ‘The ERM Dolphyn project, a first-of-a-kind, is an innovative integrated system combining all the technologies required to bring the latest floating wind and hydrogen production technologies together to enable offshore wind resources to contribute toward hydrogen production at scale.’
The 10-MW demonstrator project is a key step in proving the Dolphyn concept prior to commercial-scale deployment. The demonstrator project is targeting operations in late 2025. Commercial scale projects (300MW+) are under development and expected for operation pre-2030, followed by large-scale (GW) deployment post-2030.
When fully deployed, at an expected 4 GW total capacity, ERM Dolphyn has the potential to supply energy to heat more than 1.5 million homes with no carbon emissions, thus avoiding the release of millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.
Massive investment in entire supply chain
ERM Dolphyn is a core project for the UK’s Hydrogen coast strategy, and is expected to help generate >10,000 new jobs by 2030 and more than 100,000 by 2050. Many of these jobs will rely on the world-class skills and knowledge found in the offshore renewables and oil and gas sectors.
This massive opportunity is not without challenges: the rapid scaling up of floating offshore wind to meet both governments’ and markets’ energy transformation goals requires an equally massive investment in the entire supply chain. A healthy supply chain, engaged early on, is essential to having a holistic view of each project’s challenges and achieving the desired cost reductions that will bring floating offshore wind LCoE in line with other forms of energy generation.
On the other hand, getting to utility-scale requires advancements in modularisation and industrialisation.
The award-winning Dolphyn technology is a first-of-its-kind technology, which combines electrolysis, desalination, and low-carbon hydrogen production on a floating wind platform. ERM developed this system with significant support from the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments. The intention is to harness its full potential by working with energy developers and investors at multiple locations globally.
The hydrogen produced by Dolphyn is returned to shore via pipeline, where it can be used for power generation, transport, industrial use, and heating. At the point of use, hydrogen produced from Dolphyn is zero carbon. The North Sea and the Celtic Sea are viewed as significant areas of opportunity for Dolphyn, and business plan aims to make the most of these – working together with energy developers to produce affordable hydrogen at a scale that will materially impact our shared net zero ambitions.