The University of Sheffield has partnered up with ITM Power for a new ITM Power Gigafactory to be built at the University of Sheffield Innovation District. The gigafactory, which is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2023, will manufacture electrolysers that split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen using renewable power.
This creates zero-carbon green hydrogen which can then be used to decarbonise industrial processes, transport and heating, and will play a major role in achieving net zero.
This could hand Prime Minister Boris Johnson the cards to race to transition away from fossil fuels at a quicker pace.
Mr Johnson has also expressed his interest in using hydrogen as a route to net zero and is part of his “Ten Point Plan” for a “Green Industrial revolution”.
The Government set out the UK Hydrogen Strategy in a policy paper, which aims for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for use across the economy.
This level of hydrogen production could be equivalent to the amount of gas consumed by over three million households in the UK each year.
The Prime Minister will likely be please about the latest partnership between Sheffield and ITM that is set to boost the UK’s hydrogen strategy.
Along with the new ITM Gigafactory and a joint plan to launch a National Hydrogen Research, Innovation and Skills Centre.
ITM claim that it 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 centre is expected to be used for things like research into the safe and efficient manufacture of hydrogen using renewable energy and/or nuclear power, research into improving hydrogen system manufacturing processes; and research into to improve the manufacturing of hydrogen equipment.
Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield said: “We are very pleased to be launching this partnership with ITM Power.
“Hydrogen is one of the most exciting and promising clean energy solutions and ITM is at the forefront of green hydrogen manufacturing.
“This partnership is a milestone for both partners and the region in leading the way to achieving net zero through technological innovation.”
Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, said: “I am delighted to be working more closely with the University of Sheffield and that our second UK factory site is in Sheffield.
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“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.”