ABB Pursues Green Hydrogen Project Powered by Offshore Wind 

May 17, 2023 by Shannon Cuthrell

ABB, Lhyfe, and Skyborn collaborate on an upcoming green hydrogen production facility powered by an offshore wind farm in Sweden. 

Switzerland-based tech giant ABB, French hydrogen supplier Lhyfe, and German offshore wind developer Skyborn Renewables recently teamed up on a renewable hydrogen project near Sweden’s east coast. The latter two companies have entered a sales purchase agreement with Finnish paper manufacturer Stora Enso for a 98-acre industrial property.


Lhyfe’s green hydrogen plant design

Lhyfe’s green hydrogen plant design. Image used courtesy of Lhyfe


ABB will help optimize the integration of hydrogen and electricity production at the site, exploring opportunities to connect power-to-X conversion systems turning renewable-sourced electricity into carbon-neutral carriers, then storing the energy for future use. 

The hydrogen production site, dubbed SoutH2Port, will be linked to Skyborn’s upcoming 1 gigawatt (GW) Storgrundet offshore wind farm in Söderhamn, off the coast of the Baltic Sea. With an installed capacity of 600 megawatts (MW), the facility is expected to produce 240 tons of hydrogen per day and 88,000 tons annually—equal to around 1.8 million barrels of oil annually. This capacity level makes it one of Europe’s largest renewable hydrogen projects. 

SoutH2Port will be built in phases, starting in 2025, reaching full operation as the Storgrundet wind farm is built. Skyborn estimates the total project investment will cost 50 billion Swedish Krona (around $4.9 billion). In a promotional brochure translated from Swedish to English, the company mentions that its investment corresponds to 25 times that of the Söderhamn municipality’s annual budget. The area offers unique conditions for the project, including proximity to infrastructure such as power grids, ports, roads, and railways. 


Green Hydrogen for Electrofuels

As mentioned, SoutH2Port centers around green hydrogen, which is produced through a carbon emissions-free electrolysis process that uses renewable electricity. This differs from blue hydrogen, made from natural gas via carbon capture, and conventional gray hydrogen, derived from unabated fossil fuels. 

The hydrogen produced at SoutH2Port will be refined into electrofuels such as ammonia, methanol, or sustainable aviation fuel for shipping, agriculture, or transportation applications. The plant allows the opportunity to resell residual products, such as oxygen and heat, that can be used in greenhouses or fish farms. Electricity from the nearby wind farm not used for hydrogen production will provide the region with a net addition of electric capacity. 

SoutH2Port and the offshore wind facility that will power it lend support toward Sweden’s 2040 goal to source 100% of its electricity generation from renewable energy. While seemingly ambitious compared to other European nations’ plans, this target is easily achievable since Sweden already gets nearly all its electricity from renewable or low-emission sources. According to the Swedish Institute, around 75% of the country’s electricity production comes from hydroelectric and nuclear power plants; wind and combined heat/power plants claim 16% and 9% of the mix, respectively. 


110 MW Lillgrund project

110 MW Lillgrund project, operated by Vattenfall, is Sweden’s largest offshore wind farm, featuring 48 turbines with 2.3 MW of capacity each. Image used courtesy of Vattenfall


Project Partners Bring Experience 

The Storgrundet offshore wind farm has been in the works for years. Skyborn has held a permit to build and operate the wind farm since 2010. And last year, the company said it would apply for a renewed and updated permit. 

Skyborn—formerly known as WPD Offshore Sweden before its recent acquisition by Global Infrastructure Partners—initially signed a memorandum of understanding with Lhyfe in April 2022, agreeing to jointly establish a facility for green hydrogen production as part of Skyborn’s Storgrundet offshore wind farm. The project adds to Skyborn’s growing portfolio, totaling 7 GW of projects built, approved, or under procurement, with another 30 GW in the development pipeline. 


Sealhyfe offshore floating clean hydrogen pilot project

The Sealhyfe offshore floating clean hydrogen pilot project is a world first. Image used courtesy of Lhyfe

Lhyfe has its own experience in leading similar projects. The company launched the world’s first industrial-scale green hydrogen production facility to be interconnected with a wind farm in 2021. Last year, it also commissioned Sealhyfe in France’s Port of Saint-Nazaire, the first offshore green hydrogen production pilot system, installed on a floating platform with about 1 MW of capacity. 

Meanwhile, ABB, which agreed to supply electrical integration for SoutH2Port, already has experience in similar projects for other sustainable fuels. The company recently launched construction in Denmark for the world’s first dynamic “power-to-X” plant, wherein “X” represents green ammonia in converting electricity into alternative energy sources. It’s one of several power-to-X plants being built in Denmark.