Over the last several decades, the green energy revolution has been bubbling away under the surface. And as the world now wakes up to more disastrous effects of the climate crisis, the revolution feels like it’s truly starting to explode – with companies like ITM Power leading the way on creating a greener future.
ITM Power is an energy storage and clean fuel company that designs, manufactures, and integrates electrolysers. Electrolysers split water to create hydrogen, which is a carbon-free fuel that can be burned in cars, homes, and in industry. Founded in 2001 by Don Highgate, Jon Lloyd, and John Wreford, ITM Power has become a world-leader in green hydrogen technology. On top of that, ITM Power is considered a tech unicorn – private companies valued at over $1 billion – helping the UK join the US and China as one of only three nations in the world to have created 100 tech unicorns.
Deciding early on to make South Yorkshire their base, the team secured an £800,000 grant from Yorkshire Forward to expand their lab and workshop space in Sheffield, opening a facility on Atlas Way in 2007. Since then, they’ve partnered with The University of Sheffield – world renowned for its expertise in energy innovation – to plan and fund a National Hydrogen Research Innovation and Skills Centre. It’s here they’ll research the safe and efficient manufacturing of hydrogen using low or zero carbon sources of energy.
On the partnership, 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.”
At the start of 2021, the company opened a brand-new Gigafactory in Bessemer Park, which is the world’s largest electrolyser production factory. And with their sights already set on bigger things, the company announced at the end of the same year a second Gigafactory on the old Sheffield Airport runway, with the creation of 300 jobs.
Speaking at COP26, Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, said South Yorkshire was home to an ‘amazing group of industrial companies’. He believes the region is at a ‘tipping point’ in green technology leadership and added: “My message to everyone going through the energy transition, which is required, is that the industrial transition offers an incredible opportunity for manufacturing in South Yorkshire.”