Sheffield firm ITM Power to spend £250m on two new factories, creating hundreds of jobs
A booming Sheffield hydrogen specialist is set to spend a massive £250m on two new factories and create hundreds of jobs to meet ‘exponential demand’.
ITM Power has announced plans to build a second factory next to existing facility in Sheffield and a third overseas.
It also wants to invest in ‘semi-automation’ of its electrolyser factory at Bessemer Park in Tinsley, spend £50m on new technology aimed at reducing manufacturing costs and £45m on new jobs and training, including expansion of its Hydrogen Academy.
The firm says global electrolyser capacity of 3,585 gigawatts is required by 2050 to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions. A year ago there was only 0.2GW installed.
The firm’s products split water to produce oxygen and hydrogen which can be burned in cars, homes and factories.
It intends to raise the cash through a sale of shares to new and existing investors. The company is today worth £2.38bn. It has grown rapidly in recent years - revenue was up 357 per cent in the first three months of this year compared to 2020. It lost £6.3m in the same period and has never made a profit.
Chief executive Graham Cooley said he wanted to maintain the firm’s market leading position globally.
He added: “The money raised will fund a second UK factory with even more automation and our first international manufacturing facility, as well as providing the capital necessary to continue to make our products even better.
“In the face of the rapidly accelerating worldwide demand for electrolysis, the time to invest is now. Our strategy will create jobs for the UK and a national champion in the vital green hydrogen sector.”
The firm has a record backlog of orders and tender pipeline, he added.
The aim is to open a second UK factory by 2024, and initial scoping is ’well-progressed’.
In August, the firm opened the world’s largest electrolyser factory at Bessemer Park. It can produce 1,000MW (1GW), or one billion watts, of electrolysis equipment per year – enough to power several hundred thousand homes. Its two new automated factories will raise capacity to 5GW by 2024.
The hydrogen sector is riding high after the Government promised to boost hi-tech green sectors post-Brexit. It must also meet a legally-binding commitment for the UK to be carbon neutral by 2050.