Offshore Unmoored Hydrogen Production: An Emerging Technology Concept
This concept for deep sea hydrogen production will enable wave energy harvesting in the most energetic ocean areas on the globe.
Andrew M. Cornett, A GLOBAL WAVE ENERGY RESOURCE ASSESSMENT, Canadian Hydraulics Centre, National Research Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Conference Paper in Sea Technology, July 2008.
The most energetic ocean areas in the world (yellow and red) are far from land and market, and too deep for anchoring. They constitute, however, a vast energy resource, able to deliver a considerable contribution to the world's energy needs. But the energy is hard to harvest.
Waveco's proposed solution is a completely autonomous system producing hydrogen by electrolysis of water in a submarine plant from the energy produced by hundreds of Subwave units connected by subsurface cables. Far from any coast the only option for exporting the energy is to shuttle it with unmanned submarine vessels. These unmanned submarine vehicles automatically connect to the plant, refill, disconnect, and then go to a base for delivery.
Positioning of the whole system is based on the same principle as the Automar. Only a fraction of the generated energy will be needed for positioning.
By keeping everything except for the buoys below the wave zone, the operation will not be affected by surface conditions. This will allow for regularity and ensure that hydrogen production can take place without interruption, crucial for economic viability.
The hydrogen gas will be liquefied on the base and then brought to market in large tankers. The main market will be east and southeast Asia where the gas will be used for centralized electricity production, transportation and industrial processes.