Hydrogen Offshore Production Project (HOP2) DEFINE Study

  • Client NZTC
  • Year 2023
  • Business unit Decarbonisation

Apollo's study for the Net Zero Technology Centre explores repurposing existing oil and gas platforms and developing new offshore facilities for large-scale green hydrogen production, tackling technical, safety, and economic challenges.

The Problem

The global shift towards renewable energy necessitates innovative solutions for producing green hydrogen. However, the challenge lies in repurposing existing offshore oil and gas infrastructure to produce hydrogen efficiently and sustainably. This complex task involves overcoming technical, safety, and economic hurdles associated with converting platforms not originally designed for hydrogen production.

The Background

The Hydrogen Offshore Production Project (HOP2), a significant initiative in the global shift towards renewable energy, is funded by the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund. Its primary aim is to demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale offshore green hydrogen production. The project explores repurposing existing oil and gas infrastructure in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) and the construction of new offshore facilities. Apollo conducted the study for the Net Zero Technology Centre, evaluating various topside layout options and associated designs.

The Process

The study followed a structured approach:

  • Review of Existing Infrastructure: Assessed the suitability of existing offshore platforms for hydrogen production.
  • Concept Development: Developed multiple layout options for repurposed and new-build platforms.
  • Technical Evaluations: Conducted hazard identification, safety studies, and process design evaluations.
  • Weight and Structural Assessments: Estimated the weight and structural modifications needed for different scenarios.
  • Option Analysis: Scored each layout option based on safety, feasibility, and operational efficiency.

The Details

The study considered four main options for hydrogen production layouts:

  • Option 1A: Single Large Asset: Repurposing a single platform, facing challenges with weight and safety constraints.
  • Option 1B: Cluster of Assets: Using multiple platforms, which posed logistical and safety issues.
  • Option 1C: Bridge-Linked Platforms: Utilising interconnected platforms, showing better feasibility but requiring detailed planning.
  • Option 2: New-Build: Constructing a new platform, offering the best layout but at a higher cost.

“Apollo were very easy to work with. They challenged us in our ask, and ultimately this led to a better outcome for the project.”

The Solution

The study recommended detailed planning and collaboration among engineering disciplines to optimise the selected layout. Key solutions involved:

  • Customised Equipment Design: Developing bespoke electrolysers and other equipment tailored for offshore hydrogen production.
  • Safety Enhancements: Implementing comprehensive fire and gas detection systems, emergency shutdown procedures, and proper ventilation strategies.
  • Optimised Layouts: Ensuring efficient process flow and maintainability while minimising risks.

The Outcome

The HOP2 study concluded that repurposing existing offshore assets for hydrogen production is feasible but requires careful consideration of structural integrity, safety, and operational efficiency.

While new-build platforms offer optimal design and performance, they come with higher economic and environmental costs.

Reusing existing offshore substructures will significantly reduce the CAPEX cost for a hydrogen production platform. This is achieved by avoiding fabricating and installing new jackets and pipelines and their associated enabling costs. For instance, based on a 120m water depth and 500MW topside capacity, the jacket would be 19,600 tonnes, representing a 52% saving in steel fabrication. Similarly, the environmental impact is considerably reduced by reusing these substructures.

The study’s findings support the strategic development of offshore hydrogen production, contributing to Scotland’s decarbonisation goals and creating opportunities for job creation and skills development in the region.

The study’s structured approach provides a clear path to produce hydrogen offshore, ensuring it can be scaled up sustainably and safely.

Contact us

Interested in learning more? Contact us on decarbonisation@apollo.engineer