A revolution in green energy

Take-off: Refuelling a hydrogen-powered van, using Sheffield-based ITM's technology at Stansted Airport
Take-off: Refuelling a hydrogen-powered van, using Sheffield-based ITM's technology at Stansted Airport
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Top support services company Carillion has become the first company to hire clean, green energy technology, developed by Sheffield-based ITM Power.

The £5 billion turnover group, which employs around 50,000 people across the UK, in Canada and the Middle East, is paying to carry out trials using a transportable refuelling unit, developed by ITM, which produces hydrogen from water to fuel cars and vans modified to run on hydrogen or petrol.

Brightside-based ITM is running a series of Hydrogen On Site Trials –HOST for short – to demonstrate its technology can be used to produce a fuel that costs no more than petrol and doesn’t cause greenhouse gas pollution.

The Host unit can be transported on the back of a lorry and only needs to be hooked up to a water supply and electrical power – which could come from a renewable source like wind or solar power – in order to produce hydrogen to refuel the test vehicles, which ITM is also supplying.

Free test have already taken place with Stansted Airport, parcel carrier DHL, VolkerHighways and construction group Amey and another 16 companies and local authorities have signed up for HOST, but Carillion is so keen to try out the system that it has opted for the rental option.

Chief executive, Graham Cooley, says the Carillion deal is a significant moment for the Atlas Way firm, coming immediately after it launched a range of hydrogen fuel products at a major exhibition in Hanover and as early results from the HOST tests show the refueling rig is both reliable and ahead of industry standards when it comes to efficiency. “We had 100 per cent availability of the refuelling plant and got energy efficiency up to 69 per cent, which is astonishingly good,” said Dr Cooley.

“Carillion is a large company with a very strong commitment to renewables,” he added.

ITM Power launched its three commercial products – Hflame, Hbox and Hpack - at Hanover

All three use electrolyser technology which, in its simplest form, passes an electric current through water to split it into hydrogen and oxygen.

HFlame is designed to generate hydrogen on demand for a variety of laboratory and workshop applications including heating, brazing, soldering, cutting and polishing of metal, plastic, glass and quartz, eliminating the need to store large amounts of flammable gas.