03 May 2022

Revisiting the Gigastack Phase 2 Public Report - Chapter 4: British Manufacturing

In November 2021, the Gigastack project passed a major milestone with the launch of the consortium’s Phase 2 Public Report. This document highlights the significant progress made throughout the funded Gigastack Phase 2 project and describes the pathway to a final investment decision and commercial operation of a 100MW scale electrolyser system powered by offshore wind in 2025. This article summarises ‘Chapter 4' of the report, focusing on British Manufacturing.

To meet the growing demand for green hydrogen and electrolysis equipment, ITM Power moved into a new, state-of-the-art, electrolyser production facility at Bessemer Park in Sheffield, UK, in January 2021. Officially opened in August of that year, Bessemer Park is scheduled to reach its full manufacturing capacity of 1GWe per annum by the end of 2023. The Gigafactory will facilitate cost reductions of nearly 40% over a 3-year period, delivered through increased automation, product standardisation, economies of scale, and increased minimum levels of stock held to reduce lead times and maximise throughput. The company’s second factory – due to begin construction later this year and be fully operational by the end of 2023 – will further enhance this offering with increased levels of automation and an annual capacity of 1.5GWe.

ITM Power Gigafactory at Bessemer Park

As part of Gigastack Phase 2, ITM Power purposefully developed several physical areas within its Gigafactory, enabling space for the fabrication, production, and manufacture of larger equipment. Furthermore, for ITM Power to manufacture the items that comprise its electrolyser stacks, it needed to install several items of capital equipment. As such, for Gigastack Phase 2, ITM Power (i) developed and tested the Electrode Robotic Welding Process and (ii) worked on the installation and commissioning of the Electrodes Electroplating Process, the Membrane Hot Press and the Visual Measuring Machine.

With ITM Power’s increase in scale with market demand, the headcount at the new facility has also significantly increased. The company has actively recruited several new project managers and a tranche of highly skilled product design- and electrical-engineers to work on the Gigastack project.

These new hires are supplemented by research engineers, manufacturing roles, and production capacity, all in aid of delivering the new technology as safely and rapidly as possible.

The Humber region offers the ideal place to host the Gigastack project as it brings together a consortium which specialises in each delivery element to make this flagship project a success. The deployment of electrolyser equipment and associated balance of plant will create demand for jobs immediately in supply chains and the construction centre whilst also ensuring that operational jobs are both created and protected at the production and end use case sites.

Element Energy led a macro-economic impact assessment within the Gigastack project, demonstrating how the Gigastack project can act as a catalyst for the creation of a renewable hydrogen economy in the UK.

Element Energy macro-economic impact assessment analysis

The period from 2021 to 2030 focussed on the Humber region and the Gigastack deployment described in the Public Report, considering three scenarios:

1. 100MWe | This focussed solely on the Gigastack 100MWe concept for the Phillips 66 Limited Humber Refinery and led to 180 jobs created / safeguarded as well as £270m GVA by 2030

2. 400MWe | This focussed on growing demand from the Humber Refinery as well as mobility applications associated with the local port and led to 510 jobs created / safeguarded as well as £736m GVA by 2030

3. 1GWe | This focussed on wider industrial uptake within Immingham as well as aggressive mobility targets and led to 1,670 jobs created / safeguarded as well as £2.5bn GVA by 2030

Cumulative GVA (£bn) - Left | Job Creation – Right

The period from 2030 to 2050 considered the entirety of the UK hydrogen economy and the associated opportunities for renewable hydrogen. In the Central Uptake case, 136TWh/yr of renewable hydrogen demand, creates £78bn of cumulative GVA, 44,000 direct jobs and 29,000 indirect jobs (73,000 in total) by 2050. These benefits could more than double where the UK has a market share in the region of 20-30% of the EU’s envisaged imports market, based on Hydrogen Europe’s 2x40GWe scenarios.

Renewable hydrogen demand in 2050 (TWh/yr) - Top Left | Cumulative GVA (£bn) - Top Right | Direct and Indirect Jobs by Sector (Thousands) - Bottom