Sheffield University and ITM Power have entered a hydrogen sector collaboration including an agreement for a new ITM Gigafactory and a joint plan to launch a National Hydrogen Research, Innovation and Skills Centre.
ITM Power has reached an agreement with the University to acquire a substantial site at its Innovation District for the company’s second UK factory in Tinsley, Sheffield at a cost of £13.4m. The Gigafactory will manufacture electrolysers that split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen using renewable power. The resultant zero-carbon green hydrogen can then be used to decarbonise industrial processes, transport and heating.
The automated factory will have a capacity of 1.5GW pa and will complement an existing 1GW pa capacity at Bessemer Park. According to ITM, the new factory will provide the template for the Group’s first international facility, which is expected to have a capacity of 2.5GW pa, bringing electrolyser capacity to 5GW per annum by the end of 2024.
In a statement, Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, said: “I am delighted to be working more closely with Sheffield University and that our second UK factory site is in Sheffield. Both initiatives will support the local economy through job creation and supply chain support.
“The planning and construction of our second, 1.5 GW capacity, factory marks the next step on delivering on our strategic plan to create a blueprint for a more automated PEM electrolyser manufacturing facility to be rolled out internationally. Our focus now is on increasing utilisation and throughput at our Bessemer Park Gigafactory as we prepare for the next step-change in capacity.”
The partnership between ITM Power and the University will also include the development of a new National Hydrogen Research, Innovation and Skills Centre, which will lead to the creation of new jobs at all levels of the hydrogen sector as well as training and career development, and the promotion of hydrogen domestically and internationally.
The National Hydrogen Research, Innovation and Skills Centre, which will also be located at Sheffield University Innovation District, neighbouring ITM Power’s proposed new site, is expected to include research into the manufacture of hydrogen using renewable energy alone or with nuclear power; research into improving hydrogen system manufacturing processes; and research into the use of ‘digital twins’ to enhance manufacturing of hydrogen equipment.
Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Innovation at Sheffield University said: “Our experience in bringing together academic research and industrial expertise is helping to solve the world’s biggest problems, and our partnership with ITM Power to advance the hydrogen sector will help make net zero a reality.”