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Aberdeen Explores Undersea Hydrogen Storage for Offshore Production

undersea hydrogen storage
Port of Aberdeen's project will explore undersea hydrogen storage (file photo)

Published May 30, 2023 7:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

One of the innovation projects being funded by a Scottish government initiative to support the development of hydrogen as an energy source will explore the concept of subsea storage as a means to support large-scale offshore hydrogen production. Port of Aberdeen, in partnership with Subsea7, is leading this as one of the 32 projects that were recently announced as recipients to share £7 million ($8.7 million) in grants for the exploration and/or demonstration projects.

The Scottish Government announced the Hydrogen Innovation Scheme in 2022 as a capital funding stream of the Emerging Energy Technologies Fund. The program is to award a total of £10 million ($12.4 million) to be delivered over four years from 2022/23 to 2025/26. The objectives of the scheme are to support innovation in hydrogen production, storage, and distribution technology to reduce the cost of hydrogen produced in Scotland as well as to enable Scottish companies not currently active in the hydrogen sector to transition or diversify their operations to help anchor the hydrogen supply chain in Scotland.

The list of programs was announced in mid-May and includes several storage projects as well as production and other elements across the sector. The Port of Aberdeen looks to explore subsea hydrogen storage at its new South Harbour site as a means of expanding its role in the sector and supporting offshore production. They are receiving a grant of £150,000 ($186,000) from the Scottish Government to investigate the feasibility of storing hydrogen underwater. 

The H2Shore - Hydrogen coastal storage and distribution project will conduct thorough engineering analyses to determine the most effective technological approach and identify an appropriate offshore location. Additionally, the project will develop an outline business case, with energy consultancy firm, Xodus, scrutinizing the necessary distribution and bunkering requirements, with a focus on equipment, processes, and operating procedures.

“Ports have a pivotal role in the transition to hydrogen technologies, contributing to the journey towards net zero emissions and serving as crucial infrastructure for hydrogen transport and trade,” said Marlene Mitchell, Commercial Manager, Port of Aberdeen. “This initiative is one of many promising opportunities we're exploring to position Port of Aberdeen at the forefront of Scotland's burgeoning hydrogen economy."

Partner Subsea7 reports that they will be exploring and evaluating suitable concepts with the goal of enabling and accelerating offshore hydrogen production, storage, and infrastructure. The group is also receiving a second grant of a further £150,000 ($186,000) from the Scottish Government to investigate large-scale floating hydrogen production. The parallel concept study will focus on the offshore production of green hydrogen on a Floating Hydrogen Production Unit (FHPU) located close to offshore wind farms.

Scotland looks to use the funding initiative to help develop the wider hydrogen industry and position the country as a leader for the future of the industry. They hope to support the development and use of Scotland’s world-class test and demonstration facilities to expand their role in the hydrogen sector while also highlighting Scotland’s historic role in the energy sector and leadership in offshore wind energy.