Made Together: Scheme to harness hydrogen in battle to tackle climate change
Originally published in Sheffield Star, 19/11/2021
Humble hydrogen is one of the simplest and most common gases on earth but could – with the kind of expertise we’re developing in Sheffield – be one of the world’s greatest assets in the urgent struggle to halt the advance of climate change.
Working with the University of Sheffield and its Made Together programme, ITM Power is jointly planning and funding a National Hydrogen Research, Innovation and Skills Centre to prepare the region with the skills and training needed to harness the power of hydrogen.
What makes hydrogen so important in the climate change struggle is that you can use it to take the dirty carbon out of traditional industrial processes, transport and heating and so help industry reach the holy grail of net zero.
Hydrogen has other benefits too. Renewable energy is great but we still struggle with the basic problem of how to store it once it’s been created. Hydrogen is perfect because, with the right chemical processes, it can actually be used to store the energy, just like a battery. The tricky bit is making the hydrogen safely and efficiently, and doing it with zero or low energy sources.
The centre, to be located at the University of Sheffield Innovation District, will help tackle these challenges and give us the understanding we need to harness the incredible potential of hydrogen as a green energy solution.
Partnering with the University of Sheffield opens up fantastic opportunities for us to access expertise in tackling energy problems and energy storage – whether its working through the Energy Institute or with facilities such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Nuclear AMRC.
What's really exciting about the centre is that it will combine the University's academic research and knowledge with our industrial expertise to solve one of the world’s biggest problems and cement the region’s reputation for energy innovation.
It will be a big deal for people across South Yorkshire because it will train the next generation of hydrogen engineers and scientists and help local people develop the kind of cutting-edge skills that will put them, and the region, at the forefront of green technology for decades to come.
The new centre will be right next door to The Gigafactory, a brand new factory that we’re also building in the University’s Innovation District. The Gigafactory will produce the electrolysers needed to create the green hydrogen which, in turn, can decarbonise industrial processes, transport and heating, and help industry reach net zero. We already operate the world’s largest electrolyser factory at Bessemer Park in Sheffield but The Gigafactory will mean we can make an even bigger contribution to cutting carbon around the world. Twenty years ago you wouldn’t have thought Sheffield would be the hub of gigafactories!
Together with the National Hydrogen Research, Innovation and Skills Centre, our investment in the region and partnership with the University will put us further ahead in developing and producing the kind of technology that, right now, the world really needs to impact on climate change.
Having the support of a partner like the University of Sheffield, and it's Made Together programme, really does help make all this possible.