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Ørsted and partners secure government funding for hydrogen project

Published: 4 September 2019 - Carly Wills

Ørsted, together with ITM Power and Element Energy, has won funding from the UK government for a green hydrogen project.

The Gigastack feasibility study, led by ITM Power, is a six-month project to investigate the potential delivery of bulk, low-cost and zero-carbon hydrogen. The funding has been secured as part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Hydrogen Supply Competition, which looks at ways to accelerate the development of low carbon hydrogen supply solutions. 

The aim of the project is to identify opportunities to reduce the cost of producing hydrogen through the process of electrolysis, making it a more viable option for the UK’s energy system and for decarbonising industry. 

Matthew Wright, UK managing director at Ørsted, said: “We must continue taking urgent action to limit the damaging effects of climate change. The UK already leads the world in deploying renewable energy and accelerating the use of new technologies, such as green hydrogen, has a crucial role to play in decarbonising industrial processes. 

“We’ve seen the cost of offshore wind reduced dramatically thanks to industry and government working together, and I hope this project can be the start of a similar journey with green hydrogen.” 

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO, ITM Power said: “The Gigastack Project seeks to significantly lower the cost of producing green hydrogen by scaling the individual electrolyser stacks to 5MW and the production process to 1 GW (1,000 MW) of electrolysis capacity per annum. We are delighted to be working on this important initiative, backed by the UK government, with Ørsted, the largest supplier of offshore wind in the UK.”

Gigastack, funded by the BEIS Hydrogen Supply Competition, will demonstrate the delivery of bulk, low-cost and zero-carbon hydrogen through gigawatt scale polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysis manufactured in the UK.

The project will investigate:

  • Development of a new 5MW stack design to reduce material costs
  • A new semi-automated manufacturing facility with an electrolyser capacity of up to 1GW a year to increase throughput and decrease labour costs
  • Deployment of large scale and low cost +100MW electrolyser systems using a number of the 5MW units
  • Innovations in the operation of these large electrolysers to enable them to operate with large scale renewable energy

Achieving Net Zero carbon emissions around mid-century will need integration of very high levels of renewables into the wider energy system. Recognising this challenge, through the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, the industry has committed to establishing a task droup to identify opportunities to strengthen the role of offshore wind in delivering innovative solutions, such as wind-to-hydrogen.

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