UK supports Gigastack feasibility study with ITM Power, Ørsted, Element Energy; gigawatt-scale PEM electrolysis
ITM Power announced funding from the UK Government for the Gigastack feasibility study with Ørsted and Element Energy. The project funding is for the feasibility phase leading, if successful, to the opportunity to bid for further funding for the implementation.
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 aims to reduce the cost of electrolytic hydrogen through:
Development of a new 5MW stack module design to reduce material costs.
A new semi-automated manufacturing facility with an electrolyzer capacity of up to c. 1GW/year to increase throughput and decrease labour costs.
Deployment of very large scale and hence low cost 100MW+ electrolyzer systems using multiple 5MW units.
Innovations in the siting and operation of these large electrolyzers to exploit synergies with large GW scale renewable energy deployments.
The deployment of PEM electrolyzers on such a large scale has not been possible to date, as it requires low-cost stack modules which are easily integrated into larger electrolyzer systems, and much larger automated manufacturing facilities (the largest electrolyzer factories globally are capable of less than 30MW of capacity output per annum).
ITM Power’s proposed innovations in stack design and manufacturing techniques will address these issues and reduce the cost of installing an electrolyzer such that the capital cost contribution to the eventual cost of hydrogen becomes less significant, being dominated by the cost of electricity.
Ørsted will demonstrate the synergy between GW-scale offshore wind energy deployments and hydrogen that will enable the continued decarbonization through renewables and a continued cost out of offshore wind power projects.
In Phase One (feasibility), ITM Power will develop the designs and finalize the material requirements to deliver a low-cost 5MW stack. ITM Power will also refine concepts to maximize the throughput of the proposed semi-automated manufacturing facility to meet the demands of bulk hydrogen supply.
Ørsted will investigate potential synergies between offshore wind farms and electrolyzers to identify scenarios that can provide affordable electricity and a sufficient load factor to allow economic operation of the electrolyzers.
Finally, Element Energy will conduct market analysis of potential end users, explore business models for the operation of large electrolyzers in the energy system and define a roll-out strategy for the first 100MW electrolyzers.
In Phase Two, the 5MW stack would be built and tested both in-house and in a representative windhydrogen scenario. Construction of the semi-automated manufacturing facility would also begin. Finally, the business case for large electrolyzers would be refined, enabling commercialization.