Centrica and Lhyfe explore new offshore wind-green hydrogen pilot in North Sea

British Gas-owner Centrica and French hydrogen producer Lhyfe plan to jointly explore the potential for "large-scale offshore green hydrogen production" using North Sea wind power.

Lhyfe and Centrica are exploring a new green hydrogen pilot project linked to offshore wind in the North Sea

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding committing to a pilot project to demonstrate that the production, storage, and distribution of green hydrogen is possible in the UK.

They will also review the prospect of deploying green hydrogen “at commercial scale” alongside offshore wind electricity production – though have not provided any planned capacities for offshore wind or electrolysis. 

Lhyfe is currently working with UK offshore engineers Aquaterra and contractor Borr Drilling to develop an electrolyser on a converted jack-up rig to use wind energy to produce green hydrogen. It is not yet clear whether Lhyfe will leverage this partnership or technological solution in its new agreement with Centrica.

The French company is also working with German developer Skyborn to use Swedish offshore wind to power green hydrogen production. 

Unlike traditional synthetic fuels, green hydrogen is produced using electricity generated by renewable energy sources like wind power. 

The move marks a possible return to offshore wind ownership for Centrica, which had sold its stakes in UK projects in the last decade. It is as-yet unclear whether Centrica or Lhyfe will own any stakes in the offshore wind farms involved in their partnership.

Colin Brown, UK and Ireland country manager of Lhyfe, said the deal "represents an exciting opportunity to drive forward the clean energy transition through large-scale offshore green hydrogen production", and added: “Offshore electrolysis coupled with hydrogen storage will maximise the huge potential of offshore wind around the UK. The UK can become a global leader in the production of renewable green hydrogen.”

Martin Scargill, the managing director of Centrica storage, added that the company aims to use its natural gas storage facility Rough off the north-east of England for the world’s “largest hydrogen store” as the production of green hydrogen ramps up. It is as-yet unclear whether this is where Lhyfe and Centrica plan to locate their offshore wind-green hydrogen pilot.

Windpower Monthly has contacted Lhyfe and Centrica for comment.