Producing hydrogen has traditionally been associated with high carbon emissions, but by using renewable electricity, e.g. from an offshore wind farm, the process of producing hydrogen from water (electrolysis) can be completely decarbonized. Energy-intensive industries and the transportation sector will have the opportunity to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels by using renewable hydrogen.
As part of the initial feasibility phase of the Gigastack project, which finished in 2019, ITM Power developed designs for a low-cost modular 5 MW electrolyzer 'stack', collaborating with Ørsted to understand the potential synergies with offshore wind farms and with Element Energy to undertake a market analysis and explore business models for the first industrial-scale 100MW electrolyzers.
For the second phase of the project, which has now received funding from the department for BEIS, the consortium will conduct a Front-End Engineering Design ('FEED') study on a 100MW electrolyzer system using staged installations with a nominal capacity of 20MW.
The FEED study will detail the actual design of a hydrogen production system connected to a wind farm and industrial off-taker using ITM Power's new generation of electrolyzer stack technology, renewable energy directly from Ørsted's Hornsea Two offshore wind farm, and with the resulting renewable hydrogen supplied to an industrial off-taker; Phillips 66 Limited's Humber Refinery. A key objective of the Gigastack project is to identify and highlight regulatory, commercial and technical challenges for real applications of industrial-scale renewable hydrogen systems.
As part of the second phase, ITM Power will also install and trial both their next-generation electrolyzer stack and the semi-automated manufacturing machines required for large-scale and high-volume manufacture of these new large low-cost stacks. This will help validate a complete production system capable of delivering hundreds of megawatts of electrolyzers per year.
Anders Christian Nordstrøm, vice president for Hydrogen, Ørsted, said,"At the right cost, this technology has the potential to play a huge role in meeting the UK's decarbonization targets. We're excited to be part of this project in the Humber region where we are already very active, including constructing the biggest offshore wind farms in the world, Hornsea One and Two, and with them setting the global standard for deployment of offshore wind at scale."
Darren Cunningham, lead executive UK and general manager Humber Refinery, Phillips 66 Limited, said, "Phillips 66 Limited is excited to be involved in the Gigastack project. This project aligns with our record of developing new low-carbon markets within the UK and worldwide, following our innovative technologies, which are key to lithium-ion battery production and, more recently, our biofuels produced from used cooking oil."
Gigastack brings together: