Energy and clean fuel business plans for second giga factory

Graham Cooley

Sheffield-based energy storage and clean fuel business, ITM Power, has reached an agreement on heads of terms to acquire a site for its second UK giga factory in Tinsley, Sheffield from the University of Sheffield.

The site which will cost £13.4m is part of the University’s Innovation District, close to the M1 and approximately two miles from the group’s existing giga factory which opened earlier this year.

The land has outline planning consent and a full design brief agreed with the city council, with the acquisition subject to full planning permission being received.

Plans for a second giga factory were set out during ITM’s recent fundraise, when it raised £250m through a share placing to ramp up its activities and create more jobs.

The second automated factory is planned to be 260,000 sq ft with a capacity of 1.5 GW pa and be fully operational by the end of 2023, adding to the company’s existing 1 GW pa capacity at its Bessemer Park base. It will include an enlarged power supply to test multiple modules of the company’s net generation of products concurrently.

The new site which will also include office space and be a low environmental impact building is also said to be the template for the group’s international facilities.

This deal comes as ITM’s CEO Dr Graham Cooley and Professor Dave Petley, vice president for innovation at the University of Sheffield prepare to announce a new collaboration between the two organisations later today as part of the COP26 Regional Roadshow – Accelerating a decarbonised South Yorkshire economy. This new partnership has at its core the intention to jointly develop a plan and apply for funding for a National Hydrogen Research, Innovation and Skills Centre, to be located at the University of Sheffield Innovation District (neighbouring ITM Power’s proposed new site).

Cooley 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.”

Sir Roger Bone, chairman of ITM Power, 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 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.”

Professor Petley, added: “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.”

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