HydroWing, in partnership with Tocardo, introduced the THyPSO (Tidal Hydrogen production, Storage and Offtake), a concept that creates green hydrogen from the sea, contributing to the wider global decarbonization of energy systems.
THyPSO is a floating platform, housing 1 – 6 conventional bi-directional tidal turbines that convert tidal flows into electrical energy, which is then directed through an integrated hydrogen production unit, converting the unlimited supply of surrounding seawater into hydrogen.
THyPSO has capacity to hold up to two weeks’ worth of hydrogen production in pressurized storage tanks. Offtake is scheduled autonomously by remote communications and discharge occurs within a single slack tide. A simple and safe procedure using an offtake vessel moored down-stream of the device, connected via a pressurised delivery hose.
Hydrogen—a more versatile commodity than electricity—can be stored and used for a wide range of applications, eliminating carbon emissions from maritime transport, agriculture, aquaculture, fishing, tourism, leisure, Petro-chemicals, road transport, rail transport and grid balancing.
THyPSO combines the advantages of tidal and hydrogen technologies, mutually overcoming technical and financial barriers faced by each technology alone. By being autonomous of the grid and eliminates expensive and high-risk subsea infrastructure, creating substantial savings on OPEX and CAPEX, as well as installation and decommission.
Another key issue with producing electricity from any renewable source is the intermittency of production. By producing hydrogen instead of electricity, the offtake and onward distribution can be actively managed and scheduled to suit weather windows and market demands at the time. Consenting, installation, and decommissioning are other areas where substantial time and costs can be saved.
The THyPSO project will demonstrate streamlined implementation of tidal energy projects with a view to upscaling and rolling out larger projects across Europe and the rest of the world in the coming years in line with expected growing demand for green-sourced hydrogen.
Roughly 70 million tonnes of hydrogen are already produced annually representing a market worth more than US$121 billion. Hydrogen is utilized for a wide range of current industrial processes from ammonia, methanol and metals production and refinery of oil. Currently 98% of this demand is met by non-green sources resulting in around 830 million tonnes of CO2 a year—equivalent to the emissions of the UK and Indonesia combined.
In January 2020 HydroWing and QED Naval formed a new collaborative European joint venture and with it acquired turbine developer Tocardo. Tocardo’s technology development started in 1999; the company produced its first prototype in 2005. Since then it developed two new turbine technologies, filled more than 20 patents for industry leading innovations and become the world’s only commercial turbine supplier. Additionally, it has operated more tidal projects any other and racked up more running hours than the rest of the sectors major developers combined. Their technology is renowned for its simplicity, robustness and reliability having achieved 90-100% availability across projects.
Tocardo’s turbines are direct drive, i.e. without a gearbox or mechanical pitch mechanism. They have a patented, smart rotor bi-blade design, enabling the to be bi-directional with a guaranteed 20-year lifetime.