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ITM Power Announces £1m grant award from the Welsh Government to establish hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Wales

Welsh Government Backing for ITM Power in Wales

ITM Power (AIM:ITM), the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to announce that it has received a £1m grant award from the Welsh Government to establish a wholly owned subsidiary ITM Motive, in Wales to assist with the establishment of a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Wales.

The grant reflects a growing momentum and appetite for deployment of ITM Power’s electrolyser based hydrogen refuelling stations at sites across Wales, to produce hydrogen fuel from renewable energy, including the planned M4 corridor project and a wider Welsh roll-out. The Welsh Government has also recently joined the UKH2Mobility
project and is committed to a leading first mover role for Wales in the roll-out of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

ITM Motive will initially establish a business development office in Cardiff. The ultimate intention is to establish a facility for assembly and after sales support in Wales. ITM Motive will work closely with the Baglan Hydrogen Energy Centre at the University of South Wales and Ynni Glan, the clean energy consultancy specialising in fuel cells, hydrogen, solar, wind and bioenergy, on the development of a Welsh hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

The Welsh Government has also established the Welsh Low Carbon Vehicle Steering Group and appointed Dr Graham Cooley CEO of ITM Power as a member. Professor Garel Rhys will chair the group, which consists of representatives from the Welsh Automotive Forum, Cardiff Business School, EV Centre of Excellence, Cardiff University, Toyota Europe, University of South Wales, the Energy Saving Trust, British Gas and SSE.

ITM Power is also delighted to announce the appointment of Dr John Newton as MD of ITM Motive. John has been Business Development Manager at ITM Power for nearly two years and has successfully developed some of its largest UK projects. Prior to joining ITM Power, John was CIO for the generation business at RWE Npower. John has 19 years’ utility experience in various roles, R&D, supply chain development and management, international business development, engineering consultancy and IT demand side management. John has a background in Energy Storage and was part of Regenesys Technologies, a company formed by National Power. From 2002 to 2008 John was an independent assessor for the UK DTI New & Renewable Energy Programme.

The Welsh operation will complement ITM Power’s important existing Sheffield facilities and its activity in Yorkshire, the Isle of Wight and other activities across the UK and internationally.

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power commented: “We recognise the opportunities to benefit from the expertise within Wales and the Hydrogen facilities and project partners of ITM in South Wales. This is also complimented by the increasing penetration of renewable power in Wales and the opportunities to make green hydrogen fuel from wind.”

Business Minister Edwina Hart MBE CStJ AM said: “I am delighted that ITM Power recognises the existing expertise that we have in Wales in this particular field and that it is looking to set up a development base here. Attracting investment in next generation technology supports two of our key sectors and I am pleased to offer funding in support of this investment.”

Hydrogen Refuelling Stations in Wales and the M4 corridor
The M4 motorway is a strong candidate for hydrogen refuelling linking London with South Wales (which is part of the European route E30) via Swansea, Cardiff, Newport, Bristol and Swindon. The Welsh Government plans to make the Welsh section of the M4 a hydrogen corridor, to promote the use of ultra-low emission vehicles fuelled by hydrogen. The Welsh Government is also committed to a wider rollout of hydrogen fuel across wales and to promote its use by industrial and utility companies.

October 4, 2013 - 12:25 PM No Comments

New jelly substance could replace platinum in fuel cells

A substance made from gelatin could be used to replace platinum in fuel cells, according to research published by University of Birmingham scientists in the Royal Society of Chemistry Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

The Birmingham chemists have combined gelatin – the same gelatin that is used to make jelly – with iron and magnesium to create a material that performs almost as well as a commercial platinum catalyst, but is considerably cheaper.

The new material performs so well because the iron and magnesium salts cause the gelatin to foam, creating a sponge-like structure. When this is heated, nanoparticles of a compound called iron carbide form inside the sponge. These nanoparticles can be easily dissolved, leaving tiny holes rather like hollow capsules, in the walls of the sponge. Together, the capsules and the sponge-structure create an extremely high surface area, which is crucial for allowing the gaseous reactants to flow through the fuel cell catalyst.

Fuel cells are used to generate electricity and they do this by combining hydrogen and oxygen. The automotive industry is interested in using fuel cells as a means of powering cars with hydrogen instead of using diminishing fossil fuels. One of the major hurdles to this is that the catalysts used in the fuel cells are made of extremely expensive materials including platinum.

Dr Zoe Schnepp, Birmingham Fellow from the University of Birmingham’s School of Chemistry, who led the research, said: ‘One of the biggest challenges for materials science is to design sustainable materials. This includes materials made from cheap and abundant resources and also simple and safe manufacturing methods.

‘Unlike platinum, which is rare, our new material is made up of the abundant and cheap elements, iron and magnesium. By combining these with gelatin we have made an effective material which shows remarkable performance in generating electricity comparable to a commercial platinum catalyst. The key is that the gelatin material is not only cheap, but it’s extremely easy to make.’

The research was carried out together with scientists from the National Institute for Materials Science, Japan and Southeast University, Nanjing, China.

The paper can be found in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A

October 4, 2013 - 6:51 AM No Comments