ITM Power, designer and manufacture of hydrogen (H2) energy systems for energy storage and clean fuel production, has recently announced that it has been granted full planning permission to construct a H2 refuelling station (HRS) at the Shell forecourt in Beaconsfield.

gasworld spoke exclusively to ITM Power’s CEO, Dr. Graham Cooley, about the proposed station, the advantages of managed export of power, and how the company plans to maintain its position in the market.

 ITM Power’s CEO, Dr. Graham Cooley,

ITM Power’s CEO, Dr. Graham Cooley,

ITM Power builds, owns and operates all of its refuelling stations and is currently working with Shell on rolling out H2 refuelling stations on conventional fuel forecourts. The advantage of this is that it gives customers access to all of the amenities that you would have at an existing service station.

The new refuelling station will produce H2 on-site using electrolysis; when you make H2 in this way you can remotely manage the refuelling stations so that the power companies can choose when they want to export the power. This refuelling method is also far more beneficial to the power grid than plug-in electric vehicles

“There is a more managed export of power from the network than there is if you have customers plugging in electric vehicles,” says Dr. Cooley. “Additionally, a H2 vehicle is zero emission, it can be refuelled in three minutes, and will go for 350 miles. Those are two obvious advantages over the plug-in electric vehicles.”

The company has become increasingly interested in refuelling stations for fuel cell electric buses, an avenue it hopes to explore in the near future. “The market for H2 related activities is moving very quickly, both in the area of energy storage and in the area of refuelling fuel cell electric vehicles. I feel it is a very dynamic place to be,” he explains, adding that he hopes that the new refuelling stations will increase the prominence of H2.

“We want H2 to be more visible and we want the ease that you get with H2 refuelling to be more visible. I think as more of these stations come along and more people buy fuel cell electric vehicles, it will have a reinforcing effect.”

“This project in particular is very high profile. ITM Power’s logo will now be on some of the UK’s major forecourts which is very important for us from a branding point of view.”

ITM power believes that in order to maintain its position in the technology market, considerable attention must be given to costs and performance. The company has made significant cost reductions over the last two years and continues to advance its products.

“The performance of our electrolysers is improving all the time. We are proving the longevity of our equipment in the field and demonstrating reliability. We have an increasing number of reference plants as well, which is very important for our customers so that they can see the technology in operation.”

Dr. Graham Cooley has a rich background in the power industry and energy storage, and has confidence in both the H2 gases market and the potential that ITM has going forward. His ultimate aim as CEO of ITM Power is to free the world of fossil fuels – a bold ambition, but with such advances underway at ITM Power alone, perhaps one that we will see sooner rather than later.