Sunset Offshore Wind Turbine in a Wind farm under construction of England coast, UK. Image courtesy of Getty Images.  
Title: High efficiency reversible solid oxide cells for the integration of offshore renewable energy using hydrogen
Funding Body: EPSRC (EP/W003732/1)
Funding Period: 2022-2025
Principal researchers
  • University of Plymouth: Professor Deborah GreavesDr Robert Rawlinson-Smith 
  • University of St Andrews: Professor John Irvine
  • Imperial College London (lead): Professor Nigel Brandon, Professor Goran Strbac, Dr Huizhi Wang
  • University of Warwick: Professor Xiaowei Zhao
Post-Doctoral Research Assistants
  • University of Plymouth: Jessica Guichard 
  • University of St Andrews: Dr Kamil Nowicki
  • Imperial College London: Dr Catalina Pino-Muñoz, Dr Danny Pudjianto, Dr Hossein Ameli
  • University of Warwick: Dr Mostafa Kheshti
Project Partners
BP, Cadent Gas Ltd, Ceres Power Ltd, FTI Consulting, Health and Safety Executive, INEOS Group, National Grid, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Port of Cromarty Firth, Scottish Power, Siemens, Simec Atlantis Energy, Simply Blue Energy, TechnipFMC plc (UK), The National HVDC Centre, WH Power System Consultant
Achieving the net zero-carbon emissions target of the UK by 2050 requires increased use of renewable energy. Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE), and in particular offshore wind energy, will play an important role in the future energy mix.  The intermittency of these energy sources requires increased energy storage.
To avoid curtailment, green hydrogen can be produced with excess electricity for use in industry, transport, heating, or later reconversion into electricity. High efficiency reversible solid oxide cells (rSOC), usable both for electrolysis and as a fuel cell, present potential for energy storage in combination with Offshore Renewable Energy.
The University of St. Andrews provides expertise and experimental data on rSOC technologies. Performance of an rSOC system is determined thanks to a thermodynamic model of the balance of plant around the cell stack by Imperial College London. The research focus of the University of Warwick is on the role of rSOC in grid balancing. Imperial College London is also studying the role of rSOC in the whole UK energy system.
The University of Plymouth, as an expert on ORE, will investigate and compare the cost and environmental impact of several scenarios combining rSOC with an ORE farm, the outputs of which can be pure hydrogen production, pure electricity production or a combination of both. The aim is to provide answers to the following questions:
  • For which scenarios is it more profitable to produce hydrogen offshore rather than onshore?
  • What is a good ratio between ORE farm installed capacity, electrolyser capacity, and grid connection capacity for a given scenario?
  •  What is the impact of the following parameters on the answers to the questions above: Distance of ORE farm to shore; costs of electrolyser system, hydrogen storage and transport, and grid connection; efficiency of electrolysis; prices paid for hydrogen or electricity, hourly electricity demand?
The output of this research aims to provide decision-making tools for investment in the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions that will contribute to the net zero-carbon target.
Coast Engineering Research Group: High efficiency reversible solid oxide cells for the integration of offshore renewable energy using hydrogen.