ITM Power (AIM: ITM) today announced the launch of its first public access hydrogen refuelling station at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, just two miles from the M1 motorway network in South Yorkshire and within reach of the large population centres of Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster. The M1 motorway was highlighted as a key route for the early deployment of hydrogen refuelling in the UK in the published UK H2Mobility Phase 1 Report.
The installation is funded by InnovateUK. The launch is being supported by Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda who will be displaying their fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). The station currently offers hydrogen gas at 350bar which was a specification of the Island Hydrogen (formally known as Eco Island) project. According to ITM the station will be upgraded early 2016 to provide hydrogen at 700bar as a result of funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
This is a good example of how we can connect renewable energy installation to hydrogen production and storage equipment, and make use of this flexible storage to enable hydrogen fuel cell mobility thanks to a refueling station. This model illustrates the most promising value chain that might play a decisive role in the energy transition. Such installations are currently being deployed in various European countries.
The site consists of a 225kW wind turbine coupled directly to an electrolyser, 200kg of hydrogen storage, a hydrogen dispensing unit and a 30kW fuel cell system capable of providing backup power generation for nearby buildings. Indeed, ITM Power’s states that the facility will also serve to develop its modular commercial platform for hydrogen generation systems, Power-to-Gas and refuelling solutions. The system is designed so that energy from the wind turbine is used to provide power for some of the buildings on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, with excess energy being used by the electrolyser to generate hydrogen gas. The gas is then compressed and stored ready for dispensing into hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
This last feature shows that such installation is a flexible energy hub that can make value of the hydrogen molecule for stationary power as well as for mobility. This flexibility is certainly a key to ensure better ROI of the Capex invested there.