ITM-Ørsted green hydrogen project secures UK govt backing

EMEC hydrogen storage cylinders (Credit Colin Keldie)

August 30 (Renewables Now) - A trio including Danish offshore wind major Ørsted A/S (CPH:ORSTED) has won roughly GBP 500,000 (USD 608,600/EUR 551,200) in funding from the UK government for a green hydrogen project.

The so-called Gigastack project, led by ITM Power Plc (LON:ITM) with participation from Ørsted and Element Energy, is one of 20 schemes to have secured a share of nearly GBP 7 million in funding as part of two government programmes – the GBP-20-million Hydrogen Supply programme and the GBP-20-million Industrial Fuel Switching competition.

The goal of Gigastack is to demonstrate the delivery of bulk, low-cost and zero-carbon hydrogen produced in the UK through gigawatt-scale polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysis. ITM explains that it has so far been impossible to deploy PEM electrolysers on such a large scale because this requires low-cost stack modules which are easily integrated into larger electrolyser systems. The current largest electrolyser facilities in the world have capacities of less than 30 MW. The partners need much larger facilities to achieve the objectives of the project.

ITM, Ørsted and Element are looking to develop a new 5-MW stack design and establish a semi-automated manufacturing facility with an annual electrolyser capacity of up to 1 GW. Then they will seek to deploy electrolyser systems exceeding 100 MW through the use of multiple 5-MW units.

The trio will use the funding from the UK government, totalling GBP 499,905, to conduct a feasibility study for the project. Ørsted’s role will be to investigate potential synergies between offshore wind farms and electrolysers, while Element Energy will undertake market analysis of potential end-users, explore business models and define a roll-out strategy for the first 100-MW electrolysers.

The above-mentioned funding competitions are part of a GBP-390-million investment by the UK government in hydrogen and low carbon technologies that should help the industry reduce emissions. Among the 20 winning projects are also the HySpirits scheme at The Orkney Distillery, and the Dolphyn pilot by the Environmental Resources Management Limited (ERM). The latter would use floating wind turbines to produce hydrogen.

Of the 20 winners, seven have been chosen to develop their concepts and the best ones will be awarded up to GBP 7.5 million to move their technologies towards commercialisation, the government announcement says.

(GBP 1.0 = USD 1.217/EUR 1.102)

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