By Jason Deign
Hydrogen polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) technology developer ITM Power announced “significant commercial progress” in half-yearly results unveiled this week.
The company said its financial position in results for the six-month period ended October 31, 2017, had been strengthened by a £29.4m working capital fundraise.
It announced GBP£27m of projects under contract, up £10m from the same period in 2016. A further £10.4m of contracts were in the final stages of negotiation, up 103% year on year, the company said.
ITM Power’s tender opportunity pipeline “has grown steadily and is now over £200m, reflecting strong industrial demand,” a press release stated.
Revenue was £1.7m, up 325%, grant income rose 4% and fixed assets increased 139%, to £5.5m. Losses from operations also increased, though, from £2.3m to £2.9m.
The company’s share price held steady at around £35, a significant improvement on ITM Power’s valuation of roughly £17 a year ago.
Roger Putnam, Chairman, said the equity raise had “secured the working capital the company needs to underpin the significant progress that has been achieved in growing the order pipeline of commercial sales.”
As well as strengthening its financial position, ITM Power has been linked to several hydrogen industry firsts in recent months.
It was involved in producing the world’s first tidal-powered hydrogen at European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. And its technology was used in the first hydrogen bus route in the Pau region of France.
But the biggest coup for the company so far was the announcement earlier this month that it was working with oil giant Shell on the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis plant, in Germany.
Testing technology and exploring applications
With a peak capacity of 10MW, the hydrogen plant will be used for the processing and upgrading of products at a Shell refinery in Rhineland, as well as testing the technology and exploring application in other sectors.
The venture is backed by €10m in funding from the European Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, said ITM Power. “The project’s total investment, including integration into the refinery, is approximately €20m,” it said.
Shell and ITM Power, whose German general manager Callum McConnell will be speaking at Energy Storage Europe, are working with Norwegian research body SINTEF, software firm thinkstep and consultancy Element Energy.
The plant, named Refhyne, is scheduled to be in operation in 2020 and will be the first industrial-scale test of ITM Power’s PEM technology process.
“This new unit at Rhineland enables hydrogen to be made from electricity rather than natural gas,” said Lori Ryerkerk, executive vice president of Shell Manufacturing, in a press note.
Helping the stability of the power grid
“A unit of this kind brings a flexibility that can help the stability of the power grid, thereby facilitating more use of renewable electricity.
“In addition, if powered by renewable electricity, the green hydrogen will help reduce the carbon intensity of the site, a key goal for us.”
Currently the Rheinland refinery, Germany’s largest, requires approximately 180,000 tons of hydrogen annually, which is produced by steam reforming from natural gas.
The new facility will be able to produce an additional 1,300 tonnes of hydrogen per year, which can be fully integrated into the refinery processes such as the desulphurisation of conventional fuels.
Shell’s Rheinland refinery general manager, Thomas Zengerly, said: “If successful, there is potential for this technology to be expanded at our refinery.”
Hydrogen already being used in transport
Hydrogen has the potential to play an important role in the energy transition, the press release noted. Today, hydrogen is already being used in transport by fuel cell vehicles, as well as in industrial applications.
“When used in transport, hydrogen can help improve local air quality, as the only emission from fuel cell vehicles is water vapour,” the press note said.
“When the hydrogen is produced from renewable sources, it can help improve CO2 emissions from the transport sector.
“Shell is taking part in several initiatives to build up a hydrogen refuelling network for transport in a number of markets, including Germany.”
Dr Graham Cooley, ITM Power’s CEO, said the 10MW system “represents the maturing of PEM technology for large-scale, industrial applications.”
- Book now for an early-bird discount on your ticket to Energy Storage Europe in Düsseldorf, Germany, from March 13 to 15, where you can see ITM Power’s Callum McConnell and a host of other speakers.