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KLIMAFORSK-Stort program klima

SBEP - Innovative design and operation for REE reduction and optimized lifetime for next generation offshore wind-based hydrogen production

Alternative title: Innovativ design og drift for REE-reduksjon og optimalisert levetid for neste generasjon offshore vindbasert hydrogenproduksjon

Awarded: NOK 4.6 mill.

Did you know that the future of renewable energy lies in utilizing the power of offshore wind to produce hydrogen, known as green hydrogen? This innovative approach holds great promise for achieving the goal of a carbon-neutral future. However, there are some challenges which need to be overcome along the way. One such challenge involves the use of rare earth materials (REE) in the magnets and catalysts necessary for both offshore wind turbines and hydrogen production. These materials are essential for the efficient operation of these systems. However, there are concerns about their supply, as the majority of REE production is concentrated out of EU. This, coupled with increasing demand and geopolitical tensions, could pose a significant risk to Europe's supply of these crucial materials. As an awareness point, the production of REEs is associated with significant environmental impacts. For every ton of REE produced, an estimated 2,000 tons of toxic waste, including radioactive waste, are generated. Clearly, finding alternatives to REEs is imperative for the sustainable production of green hydrogen. To address these challenges, a consortium of industrial and research partners has come together to develop innovative solutions through the INSPIRE project. Among the goals of INSPIRE is to optimize the design of green hydrogen systems to minimize the use of REEs while maximizing efficiency and lifespan. Additionally, INSPIRE project targets to implement artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to optimize the production of hydrogen from offshore wind energy. Moreover, INSPIRE will deliver road maps for REE reduction and innovations in wind-hydrogen for stakeholders and EU policy makers. The INSPIRE project, by combining offshore wind energy with hydrogen production, can create multi-use structures that not only generate clean energy but also reduce, recycle, and reuse materials, while withstanding extreme environmental conditions.

In the green hydrogen - the hydrogen from renewable energy such as offshore wind - the rare earth materials (REE) play an important role in the magnet and catalyst needed for both offshore wind and the hydrogen production, respectively. The high production concentration, a growing Chinese domestic market demand and an increased worldwide geopolitical political tensions can pose a high supply risk for Europe. REE production comes also with significant environmental impacts. Some estimations show that for every ton of REE, 2,000 tons of toxic waste, including radioactive waste, are produced . Therefore, as a key pathway for the EU’s net zero commitment, hydrogen produced by wind energy’s potential needs to be fully unlocked. This requires disruptive technologies to achieve this goal. INSPIRE is born in response to the priority area “Development of offshore marine multi-use infrastructures to support the blue economy” to combine marine renewable energy constructions with hydrogen production, to develop multi-use structures and materials to reduce, recycle, reuse and being resistance to extreme environmental conditions. To reach these goals we have set up a consortium of industrial and research partners to optimize green hydrogen system design methodology with minimum REE, to deliver a reference design of an optimized open access 25x15 MW floating wind-hydrogen with minimized REE and optimized lifetime, to implement AI-based wind-hydrogen production optimization and to establish a pathway towards implementation in policy and industrial standards. The core ambition of INSPIRE is to deliver innovative optimized design for REE reduction, and AI-based optimized operation for integrated hydrogen-wind system as well as road maps for EU policy makers.

Funding scheme:

KLIMAFORSK-Stort program klima