The future of green gas? Tractebel awarded offshore floating hydrogen project ERM Dolphyn

05 Oct 2022

Tractebel has been awarded a contract to support the innovative offshore project “ERM Dolphyn” - Deepwater Offshore Local Production of HYdrogeN. The project taps into the huge potential of offshore energy, with plans to produce renewable hydrogen for large-scale deployment worldwide.

Producing clean, low-cost hydrogen is considered key for the global energy transition to zero-carbon emissions. But the clock is ticking. What if large-scale, commercial hydrogen production was just over the horizon? With its potential to provide millions of homes with low-cost, carbon-free energy, the ERM Dolphyn project has the potential to make a significant impact in the fight against climate change. Our hydrogen experts and partners are on the path to making this emissions-busting concept a reality.

Tractebel’s offshore hydrogen experts called upon from the start
Client ERM has developed the ERM Dolphyn technology, a new concept that combines floating offshore wind technologies and hydrogen production. Tractebel’s contribution to Dolphyn dates back to the beginning in 2020. Our Offshore - Global Power experts recently signed a new contract to act as Lead Engineer on this groundbreaking initiative. In parallel, we are responsible for the construction and installation design, value engineering, safety engineering and operations and maintenance. We are collaborating closely with ERM as the client and project delivery team, namely ERM, Offshore Design Engineering (ODE), Principle Power (PPI), Frazer Nash (FNC), Nel and Doosan, and the British Bureau of Energy.

The ERM Dolphyn concept combines floating offshore wind technologies and hydrogen production. Image © ERM

Cutting-edge offshore hydrogen production
The first demonstration project for the ERM-Dolphyn concept will likely be located off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Representing the forefront of renewable hydrogen production, it combines offshore floating wind technology and hydrogen electrolyzers to produce and transport hydrogen to shore, without the need of an external power source. The project will first produce a 10 MW demonstrator which will provide very valuable information for future expansion. Other commercial-scale developments will then follow in Scotland, the Celtic Sea and other locations. The patented ERM Dolphyn technology can be deployed large-scale, all over the world, to harness the best winds for energy production. 

The setup of the new concept consists of a floating platform moored with anchors, a wind turbine generator, a hydrogen electrolyzer, fresh water production and a gas pipeline to shore – the elements required to produce green hydrogen gas on a large scale. The first two stages, the concept selection and the pre-FEED study (front-end engineering and design; consisting of feasibility studies and cost estimates), are complete. The commercial-scale demonstrator unit study phase is in full swing and is planned to wrap up by the second quarter of 2023. The prototype unit is set to be built and installed by the end of 2025, with the first commercially scaled offshore hydrogen windfarms slated for the end of the decade.

The first commercially scaled offshore hydrogen windfarms are expected by 2030. Image © ERM

Hydrogen in the fight against climate change
Green hydrogen is a unique and versatile fuel, perfectly suited for a low-carbon economy. When hydrogen combusts it only produces water vapour, making it a zero-emissions fuel. Its lack of carbon emissions makes it a core component of a cleaner energy future on a global scale. However, the production of green hydrogen still requires a lot of energy input and emerging technologies need to become more efficient.

Over time ERM Dolphyn will be deployed worldwide in GW-scale projects, which have the potential to provide ultra-low carbon fuel at an affordable price to industry, transportation and millions of homes. This would have a major impact on the energy transition, by reducing dependence on carbon-intensive energy sources.


The setup of the new concept consists of a floating platform moored with anchors, a wind turbine generator, a hydrogen electrolyzer, fresh water production and a gas pipeline to shore. Image © ERM



“The ERM Dolphyn commercial demonstrator project is a first of its kind and will provide valuable information for the future expansion of this technology. It will showcase the possibilities of the technologies and guide the way in how to integrate green offshore hydrogen gas. The ERM Dolphyn project is a perfect match with Tractebel’s commitment towards a sustainable future. We are delighted to provide our experience and expertise to support this innovative project, while contributing to a healthier environment and a carbon-neutral world.”

 Stijn Verplanken, Senior Project Manager, Energy – Offshore


Concept photos courtesy of ERM
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