A leading manufacturer of electrolysers has secured a site on which to build its second UK factory.
At a cost of £13.4 million, energy storage company ITM Power (LON: ITM) struck a deal to acquire land in Tinsley from Sheffield University.
The site is part of the institution’s innovation district, close to the M1 motorway and public transport links.
It is about 2 miles from ITM’s existing gigafactory and technology centre at Bessermer Park, Sheffield.
The land has outline planning consent and a full design brief agreed with the local authority – the acquisition is subject to securing full planning permission.
A £55m electrolyser factory
As set out at the time of the recent fundraise, London-listed ITM intends to build a second automated factory of some 260,000 square foot.
It will have a capacity of 1.5 gigawatts (GW) per annum and, under current timelines, will be fully operational by the end of 2023.
The new factory will provide the template for ITM’s first international facility, which is expected to have a capacity of 2.5 GW pa.
If the facility gets off the ground, it will bring the company’s electrolyser capacity to 5 GW pa by the end of 2024.
One of the key features of the second UK factory will be an enlarged power supply to test multiple modules of ITM’s next generation product concurrently.
The overall cost of the new Sheffield factory is expected to be in the region of £50m to £55m.
In addition to the land cost of £13.4m, the company is currently allocating up to £16m for the construction of the shell, and a further £20m to £25m for the fit-out and power supply.
The new factory will also include office space for manufacturing staff and will be a low environmental impact building, using the best of current low carbon technologies.
ITM said it will work closely with a developer, to be appointed once planning permission has been received, to incorporate low carbon footprint materials and facilities.
Electrolysers use clean electricity and water to produce green hydrogen, an emissions free fuel.
Graham Cooley, chief executive of ITM Power, said: “I am delighted to be working more closely with the University of Sheffield and delighted 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 our strategic plan to create a blueprint for an automated PEM electrolyser manufacturing facility to be rolled out internationally. At the same time, we are also focussed on increasing utilisation and throughput at our Bessemer Park Gigafactory as we prepare for the next step change in capacity.”
ITM Power x Sheffield University
As part of ITM’s deal to secure land from Sheffield University, Mr Cooley will today launch a formal partnership between the two organisations.
At the heart of the agreement is an intention to jointly develop a plan, and apply for funding for a National Hydrogen Research, Innovation and Skills Centre.
It will also be located at Sheffield University’s innovation district.
The initial focus of the collaboration will be the development of research, innovation and skills for the hydrogen sector.
That’s expected to include research into the safe and efficient manufacture of hydrogen using renewable energy and/or nuclear power production, research into product life cycle analysis, as well as recycling and recovery of system components.
In addition, the collaboration will study the creation of new jobs at all levels in the clean fuel sector.
Sir Roger Bone, chairman of ITM, said: “The opportunity to partner with the University of Sheffield, recognised for its excellence in all aspects of industrial research, will enable both parties to train the next generation of hydrogen engineers and scientists, and continue to grow the company and the economy in the region. I look forward to seeing this relationship develop and prosper in the years ahead”
Professor Koen Lamberts, president and vice-chancellor of Sheffield University, 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.”
Professor Dave Petley, vice-president for innovation at Sheffield University, said: “The University of Sheffield has world renowned expertise in energy innovation, and we recently announced a new Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre, adjacent to our Translational Energy Research Centre, both housed at the University of Sheffield 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.”