ITM Power (AIM: ITM) announces an Update on Progress ahead of the Company’s Annual General Meeting and Shareholder Open Day taking place today.
Our HFuel® vehicle refueller is being launched today with the delivery, and demonstration, of the two hydrogen internal combustion engine Ford Transit vans from Revolve Technologies. The Hydrogen On Site Trials (HOST) involving these vehicles and the H-Fuel has gained significant commercial traction, with [seven] companies and local authorities already signed up. The trials will commence in 2011 and are the first step towards attracting high profile commercial and government customers for the technology.
We are now in the process of working towards CE certification for our products to enable their commercial sale in European markets. Four directives have been identified (Machinery, ATEX, EMC and Pressure Equipment) which together cover all four of the product platforms launched in April at the Hannover Messe: the HPac, HBox, HLab and HFlame. The Pressure Equipment Directive is particularly relevant to the HPac and HBox products which utilise Category II vessels. As announced on the 28th June 2010, we have been working with GASTEC at CRE (GaC) to address the requirements of these Directives. We are seeking voluntary Certificates of Conformity for the Machinery and EMC Directives from relevant UK Notified Bodies. The formal documentation for the pressure vessel in HPac has been submitted and is currently under consideration against the Pressure Equipment Directive.
We announced our first product sale and field trial, to the University of Birmingham, which will use our HPac10 product to supply hydrogen to its fuel cell laboratory, thus removing the facility’s dependency on bottled gas. Separately, the Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ballast Nedam Sustainability Services B.V, a Dutch construction and infrastructure development company, for the exclusive provision of hydrogen energy systems.
We have, in addition, made good progress on enhancing our technology. The goal of the core development work is to bring together performance, cost and longevity. These need to be achieved together, not in isolation. This goal is now well integrated into our product development and there have been significant achievements resulting in our technical base being stronger than ever. Several technical challenges remain and we are now structured to successfully tackle them.
Technical achievements and progress include:
We can also announce today the allowance of patents in Europe and Japan. These are important extensions to our substantial patent portfolio. The European Patent (Application number 05 077 932.1) is a divisional application to broaden the previously granted ITM Power materials and production processes related to electrochemical cells, and now covers the use of our materials in alternative, non energy related applications (unrestricted use). The Japanese Patent (Application Number 2003-527827) also builds on this position and has allowed the ITM Power materials in electrochemical cells and in a one-shot production process, and in other non-related applications (unrestricted use) reinforcing the Company’s secure hold on its technology in this important territory. The grant of materials unrestricted to use now allows us to license our materials in alternative applications.
Creation and protection of relevant intellectual property remains central to our development strategy. We have robust processes to identify new intellectual property and seek the most appropriate method of protection. Our strategy has been to prosecute worldwide patent applications for the use of ITM Power’s suite of unique materials and processes through the Patent Corporation Treaty. This has already been widely granted in other territories including the EU, US, China,
Through our involvement with the UKHA (UK Hydrogen Association), ITM Power is actively contributing to the development of future hydrogen technologies standards in the British Standards committee PVE 3/8 and in four International Standards Organisation (ISO) Technical Committee 197 Working Groups. We will attend forthcoming meetings in Tokyo next week for the residential electrolyser standard (ISO 22734-2) and hydrogen refueling station standard (ISO 20100), whilst also being involved in the hydrogen purity standards ISO 14687-2 and ISO 14687-3 for vehicular and stationary fuel cell applications respectively.
Looking forward, ITM Power retains significant cash reserves, of £16.9m, to fund commercialisation. These reserves will be supplemented by the successful application for monies from Government bodies including the Technology Strategy Board, which has allocated over £500,000 of grants to support our HydroGEN project to reduce the cost of alkaline membranes. In the current financial year, we have secured additional grant and research funding of £935,000, which will be received over the next 18 months.
In summary, the new management team, led by our Chief Executive Graham Cooley, has re-energised ITM Power over the last year. A new commercialisation strategy has been formulated and adopted and is being successfully prosecuted. The current financial year will see further milestones, with our first products commercially available and the commencement of the HOST trials with a number of blue chip companies and organisations. I will report further on progress to shareholders at the time of the half year results in January 2011.