'Energy problem... what energy problem?'

"PEOPLE say there's an energy problem – there isn't," asserts ITM Power's director of research, Dr Don Highgate.

"Outside today there is more energy landing on the roof than we could conceivably use. The problem is that there was no economic way of capturing it, storing it and re-using it when we need it.

"None of the sustainable options provide us with the energy when we need it. None of the sustainable options provide us with fuel."

None of them did, that is, until ITM came up with its revolutionary electrolyser technology for turning water into energy.

ITM – which was attracted to Sheffield by technology transfer and funding specialist International Innovation Services – describes its invention as "Technology for the present day" which is economically viable and doesn't demand time and investment in major infrastructure to become a reality.

"There is no other game in town, if you want to do it in the near future and on a large scale."

Conventional models of an economy fuelled by hydrogen envisage the construction of large central electrolysters, built close to existing power stations.

To make them work they need the construction of a new network of hydrogen distribution pipes, mirroring the current natural gas network and significant storage to match production to demand.

ITM's model avoids that by having local hydrogen electrolysers using existing electricity power lines and water systems to produce enough gas for the coming day and requiring no new infrastructure.

On a more local scale, ITM's technology not only means new housing developments can be built which meet the Government's Zero Carbon targets for 2016, but existing homes could soon have the technology retrofitted, enabling them to rapidly reduce the contribution they make to global warming without reducing their occupants' living standards.

Dr Highgate sees the company leasing its equipment to householders and developers in the early days, as a way of introducing people to the Hydrogen Home and making sure the early adopters get the support they need.

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