ITM optimistic as half-year loss worsens

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CLEAN fuel firm ITM Power reported deeper half-year losses but said it is on the cusp of achieving commercial traction.

The Sheffield-based firm, which has developed electrolyser technology to produce hydrogen gas with electricity, said losses for the six months to the end of October totalled £3.5m, more than the £3m losses a year earlier. It burned £3.2m of it cash, leaving it with £9m in the bank.

But the company said it will be boosted by its participation in a £400m Government programme, UKH2Mobility, to make hydrogen powered cars a reality.

Chairman Roger Putnam said: “The UK H2Mobility initiative represents a very significant step forward for the UK in the adoption of hydrogen for transport. This, coupled with the EcoIsland project, places ITM Power at the heart of the emergence of this exciting new fuel industry.

“Building relationships has been a major focus for ITM Power over the last six months and the achievement of our first major European Union grant is a sign of relationship development that will, we hope, result in significant commercial traction in 2012.”

ITM is one of 13 companies from the utility, gas, infrastructure and global car manufacturing sectors to join the UKH2Mobility project. It is also working on the largest single sustainability project in the UK, EcoIsland, which is developing a renewable energy grid for the Isle of Wight. Firms it is working with there include IBM, Toshiba, Cable & Wireless and SSE.

“I am confident that 2012 will be the tipping point for both hydrogen as a transport fuel in the UK and the group’s product offering,” said Professor Putnam.

“The need for energy storage is now well understood by decision makers around the world. The rising levels of intermittent forms of renewable power generation have increased the need for energy storage and demand side control.”

ITM is not paying a dividend. The firm added it was granted nine patents during the period, with another seven applications filed.

Professor Putnam said ITM’s outlook is “very positive” as it develops early sources of revenues.

Chief executive Graham Cooley said it has booked about £430,000 of orders for its products, and its outstanding order book is worth more than £537,000. Further orders have not developed as fast as it hoped, and Dr Cooley said firms appear to be sticking rigidly to budget cycles. It expects orders to grow from April.

“Against this background, however, we have seen a significant upturn in requests to tender and quote for the supply of products across our range,” said Dr Cooley.

The company has launched a range of products including its HFuel hydrogen-generating device, which can supply around 4kg of hydrogen per day. HPac supplies hydrogen to compression systems for energy storage, fuel cells, engines and small industrial sites. HFlame is designed for soldering, cutting and polishing. HBox is an electrolyser designed to produce heat and power inside the home.

“We are, I believe, in the right place at the right time, with the right products,” said Dr Cooley.