ITM and Roush cleantech collaboration set to 'greatly accelerate' pollution reductions
A new East of England joint project could be set to drive forward the nation's escape from the use of polluting fuels, powering commercial vehicles with a new generation of 'cleantech' energy sources.
Hydrogen energy innovator, ITM Power has entered into a joint development agreement with an Essex automotive engineering firm to accelerate the rollout of its alternative fuels infrastructure. The Saffron Walden-based company, which through numerous projects is working toward the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cells as a reliable source of power for the future, has announced a collaboration agreement with Roush Technologies in a unique project to realise hydrogen-powered, emission-free vehicles on UK roads. ITM said that it expected the deal with Roush, which has extensive experience in the commercial vehicle sector, to greatly accelerate the rollout of CO2-free, hydrogen-fuelled commercial vehicles operating in Britain. "This is a significant co-operative agreement between two companies who are committed to bringing practical hydrogen power into the automotive market place within a dramatically reduced timeframe," said ITM's CEO, Jim Heathcote. ITM said that Roush, which was bought up from its US parent company by a British consortium late last year, will be responsible for both adapting existing internal combustion-engines in vehicles and researching the development of new power units to utilise hydrogen fuel. "Both our companies recognise that bringing emission-free energy technologies forward and to market, requires an integrated approach," said Roush's executive chairman, Andrew Williams. "This involves the production and supply chain for the fuel - together with the development and applications engineering which enables its effective usage." The agreement, which will enable both parties to jointly offer a complete package of hydrogen refuelling systems and hydrogen vehicles to customers, will see ITM providing its patented electrolyser, due to enter production at ITM's production facility in Sheffield later this year. ITM anticipates that first sales will be to large commercial or local government organisations that wish to demonstrate a commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and that marketing to third parties will commence as soon as possible. "Whilst it initially involves the commercial vehicle sector, it will demonstrate the wider potential of hydrogen technology to help cut CO2 emissions and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels," said Heathcote. ITM's electrolyser can produce hydrogen from water and any source of electricity including off-peak or renewable energy - electricity generated by wind, wave or solar power, and addressing the hydrogen infrastructure issue by using the already developed electricity and water distribution network. Roush Technologies is one of Europe's leading providers of advanced design and engineering services, specialising in the development of powertrains and related systems, and serving a diverse portfolio of multi-tier automotive and non-automotive clients, across a broad spectrum of industries. In a separate announcement, ITM also said that it has successfully run its electrolyser system at the design pressure required to give the ITM car its full design range of 25 miles when used in conjunction with the Home Refuelling Unit (HRU). "The 75 bar pressure objective is important because it ensures that the ITM hydrogen car can achieve the 25 mile range," said Heathcote. "Once achieved, it means that the company can be confident that it can meet and service many other commercial opportunities; for example, low carbon homes and standby power systems." Shares in the world-leading innovator have jumped considerably on the announcements, leaping 27 per cent, or 12.5p to 59.5p.