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Hydrogen fuel technology breakthrough

Green energy specialist ITM Power is predicting it will start earning “serious income” in the current year as demand increases for its ground-breaking fuel technology.

The firm, based on Sheffield’s Brightside Lane, develops equipment that passes an electric current through water to generate hydrogen, which can then be used to fuel cars, generators and other equipment.

Alternative Investment Market quoted ITM recorded a £3.5 million pre-tax loss for the six months to the end of October.

However, the firm says the outlook for the coming months is positive with early revenue streams developing and the use of hydrogen as a fuel for many applications accelerating.

Recent breakthroughs have included proving that its mobile hydrogen generator can produce green fuel for cars and vans that costs no more than petrol.

ITM also secured the first commercial customer for its Hydrogen On Site Trials when blue chip support services company Carillion signed up to test the system.

During the same period, ITM joined forces with blue chip multinationals IBM, Toshiba and Cable & Wireless Worldwide, Scottish and Southern Energy and Southern Water, to create the EcoIsland consortium, which is undertaking the largest single sustainable energy project in the UK.

EcoIsland will use ‘smart technology’ to create a renewable energy system on the Isle of Wight.

After winning a contract to install its HFuel hydrogen generation, storage and dispensing equipment at Nottingham University, ITM has gone on to secure the CE mark for its equipment, allowing the system to be used anywhere in the European Union. The company has also become part of UKH2Mobility, a joint Government and industry initiative to make hydrogen powered travel in the UK a reality.

UKH2Mobility brings together the Departments for Business, Innovation and Skills, Transport and Energy and Climate Change with the utilities, gas, infrastructure and global car manufacturing sectors to evaluate hydrogen’s potential as a fuel for ultra low carbon vehicles.

If the results are positive the plan is to promote hydrogen as a fuel to consumers in two to three years time.

Meanwhile, ITM is benefiting from a series of grant-funded projects, including the EU SafeFlame project to find alternatives to highly flammable bottled gases like acetylene and propane for use in brazing in industries as diverse as refrigeration, ship building, car repairs, jewellery manufacturing and polishing.