Lhyfe launches offshore green hydrogen pilot site

Lhyfe has launched ‘Sealhyfe’, a world-first offshore renewable green hydrogen production demonstrator.

The global clean energy company started an 18-month wind powered pilot in Saint-Nazaire, France, last week. The launch comes after Lhyfe began its first UK operation in North East England to identify opportunities to deploy production facilities to support the country’s net zero ambitions.

Colin Brown, UK and Ireland country manager of Lhyfe, described the Sealhyfe platform as a major step towards unlocking the huge potential of offshore wind.

Sealhyfe will operate at quay then off the coast of Le Croisic, on the offshore testing site (SEM-REV) operated by French engineering school Centrale Nantes. 

Lhyfe believes that offshore has a central role to play in bringing renewable green hydrogen production to mass market. Producing hydrogen using offshore wind turbines could allow all coastal countries to develop green solutions for regions, industry, transport and fuel distribution, the company said.

According to Lhyfe, it will produce the first kilograms of renewable green hydrogen at quay and then at sea, operating automatically in the most extreme conditions. The company has installed its production unit on a floating platform, connected to a floating wind turbine.

Challenges that Sealhyfe will have to meet include performing all stages of hydrogen production at sea including converting the electrical voltage from the floating wind turbine, pumping, desalinating and purifying seawater, and breaking the water molecules via electrolysis to obtain renewable green hydrogen.


Other challenges include managing the effects on the system of the platform’s motion, enduring environmental stress and operating in an isolated environment.

At the end of the quayside test phase, Sealhyfe will integrate the SEM-REV offshore testing area about 20km from the coast. The device will then be supplied with electricity by the floating wind turbine installed within the offshore test site in 2018.

The production unit was installed on the WAVEGEM wave energy platform developed by GEPS Techno. The electrolyser was supplied and optimised for these conditions by Plug Power.

Other major players involved in the project include Chantiers De l’Atlantique for enhancing the system’s resilience to environmental stress; Eiffage Energie Systèmes for the system’s integration on a platform and the naval architecture of the latter; the Port of Saint-Nazaire, facilitator of Sealhyfe’s assembly and testing; and Kraken Subsea Solutions which participated in the design of the underwater electrical connection to the renewable energies produced on the SEM-REV platform.

A first six-month trial phase is being started at quay to obtain initial reference measurements and test the systems. Sealhyfe will then spend 12 months off the Atlantic coast, installed less than a kilometre from the floating wind turbine, fixed to the ground by a system of anchors and connected to the site’s underwater hub using an umbilical designed for this application (energy and data transfer).

- Lhyfe

At the end of the trial, Lhyfe should have substantial data allowing it to design mature offshore production systems and to deploy proven technologies on a large scale.

Sealhyfe has the capacity to produce 400kg of renewable green hydrogen per day, equivalent to 1MW of power. By 2030-2035, offshore could represent an additional installed capacity of around 3GW for Lhyfe, the company said.

“Sealhfye is a major step forward in demonstrating its availability today and Lyhfe’s ambition to help the UK’s transition to a clean, low-carbon future,” said UK and country manager at Lhyfe, Colin Brown.

“We are exploring exciting opportunities across the UK to enable local decarbonisation. We encourage any UK industry or organisation seeking to decarbonise to get in touch with us.”