Energy storage innovators ITM Power have found a home for their second ‘gigafactory’ in Sheffield, a £ 50 million venture planned to build electrolysers for green hydrogen.
Led by Dr Graham Cooley, the firm told AIM investors this morning it will pay Sheffield University £13.4 million for a plot at Tinsley, subject to a grant of full planning permission. ITM Power began producing at its first plant two miles away at Bessemer Park only in January.
Fresh from October’s £250 million equity raising, ITM plans the Tinsley plant to produce 50% more by volume than the Bessemer Park ‘gigafactory’, already the world’s biggest producer of electrolysers.
If all goes to plan, automated manufacture could see Tinsley’s 260,000 square foot plant making 1.5 GW of PEM electrolysers – Proton Exchange Membrane – in 2024, its planned first full year.
Tinsley will be a springboard and a production template for international expansion. Assisted by German chemical giant Linde, ITM’s partner and shareholder, the British firm intends to be hitting 5 GW of annual output by December 2024, Cooley told investors.
In January this year Linde placed its order with ITM for the world’s largest PEM electrolyser, rated at 24MW.
ITM Power budgets construction of the Tinsley plant, incorporating sustainable materials, at up to £ 42 million, in addition to the site purchase.
Sheffield University, linked to six past Nobel Prizes, will be a key development partner. The university intends Tinsley as its Innovation District, and the duo will seek funding for a National Hydrogen Research, Innovation and Skills Centre there.
Launching the collaboration today, Cooley and the uni’s Professor Dave Petley outlined research plans to commercialise research into
- safe, efficient ways to make hydrogen using low carbon energy power including nuclear
- recovery and re-use of system components
- further development use of digital twins and VR tools, as already used by ITM Power.
Professor Petley, the university’s vice-president for innovation, said: “The University of Sheffield has world renowned expertise in energy innovation. We recently announced a new Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre, adjacent to our Translational Energy Research Centre, both housed at the university’s Innovation District.
“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.”
By mid-afternoon ITM’s shares on AIM had risen 4.7%, to £5.02, valuing the firm at £ 2.64 billion.