Energy to OG facility. Photo © TechnipFMC

New technology could make Norway’s oil and gas cleaner

The Norwegian oil and gas industry could be getting cleaner, thanks to a project that aims to store renewable energy under the sea.

New technology, which was presented to the public for the first time last week, could allow the energy from offshore wind farms to be converted to hydrogen and stored on the seabed.

This energy source could then be used to power Norway’s oil and gas platforms, helping to cut down carbon emissions on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The initiative – known as Deep Purple – was shared publically for the first time at the Maritime Hydrogen and Maritime Renewable Energy Conference in Florø on 3 October.

It represents a collaboration between TechnipFMC, SINTEF, Subsea Valley and Maritim Forening Sogn og Fjordane.

The oil service company TechnipFMC will be responsible for developing the technology for storing hydrogen on the seabed. The firm is one of the partners to the GCE Subsea business cluster, based in the Bergen region.

Wider benefits

Storing hydrogen in this way could also have other benefits for our future economies.

The Norwegian government have taken steps to support the greater use of hydrogen in the shipping industry, and a range of projects are now underway involving hydrogen‑powered ferries and cruise ships.

This fuel can be created using renewable energy, and produces only water vapour as a waste product, making it much more sustainable than alternatives such as natural gas.

However, hydrogen has explosive properties, meaning that storing large amounts of the fuel on land can come with significant risks.

Developing technology that can store vast reserves of hydrogen offshore, at a safe distance from Norway’s ports, could help to solve this problem and pave the way for a green revolution out at sea.

Collaborators

The project was launched by the four players mentioned above in June 2016, during an ideas lab organized by the Research Council of Norway. The idea went on to win first prize at the event.

GCE Subsea is also involved via the organization’s Subsea Innovator Trond Strømgren, who was one of the founders of the project in June 2016 and has his work divided between GCE Subsea and Maritim Forening Sogn og Fjordane.

The Research Council of Norway has also provided funding for the Deep Purple project.