Oort Energy: Pioneering the future of green hydrogen at Sheffield Technology Parks

Oort Energy: Pioneering the future of green hydrogen at Sheffield Technology Parks

Oort Energy is on a mission to make green hydrogen universal. The company’s innovative technology is setting new standards in green hydrogen production, making electrolysis economical and sustainable. The business, which has headquarters in Bristol and Sheffield, is working on a number of groundbreaking projects in the UK, Morocco and South Africa and has more than doubled its team in the past year, whilst securing £6 million investment.

The story so far

Oort Energy was founded in 2022 by Dr. Nick van Dijk and Dr. James Dodwell. The pair brought on board Alex Shields, now the Engineering Director, who heads up the Sheffield HQ. Having previously worked together at another manufacturer of electrolysers, Nick and Alex have cherry picked a specialist team, including several former colleagues who share their mission.

Oort’s team has grown to 24 employees, with six based in Sheffield, including engineers and a project manager. The Sheffield office, here at Sheffield Technology Parks, is home of design and assembly while the Bristol office serves as the hub for Research and Development.

The company's growth has been fueled by substantial investment. Initially securing £300k in seed funding from private investors, as the technology developed and contracts were secured, Oort went on to raise a total of £6 million.

Groundbreaking global projects

Oort Energy is involved in the delivery of several significant pilot projects. This year, they will deliver a 100kW order in Oxford and a 1MW order in Morocco. The latter project involves using hydrogen to produce ammonia, a critical component in fertiliser, which will help improve the quality of Morocco’s soil, supporting the country's agricultural industries.

Oort is set to deliver another 1MW electrolyser to South Africa in early 2025, helping one of the world’s most significant CO2 emitters in their journey to decarbonisation.

Making green hydrogen universal

While electrolyser technology has been around for over a century, Oort Energy's innovative electrochemical stack technology has the potential to significantly reduce the costs of green hydrogen production and storage, making it more accessible and globally acceptable.

By converting renewable energy sources into hydrogen, Oort addresses a major challenge in the journey towards decarbonisation and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Renewable energy, such as wind and solar, cannot be stored, leading to wasted potential when supply exceeds demand.

Conversely, during high demand, supply can fall short due to the lack of stored energy, making it an unreliable source. Hydrogen, however, can be stored and produced wherever there is renewable energy, offering a reliable and sustainable solution.

Sheffield Technology Parks: A place to grow

Oort Energy moved into Sheffield Technology Parks in January 2023 with just Alex and two co-workers. Reflecting on this decision, Alex shares, “Having looked at a few different spaces in Sheffield, the Tech Parks had a good feel to it. We received a very warm welcome from Emma, who was helpful and accommodating straight away. I think what particularly appealed was the fact that we were offered an office for eight people but initially just charged rent for the three workers we had. Tom understood that we wanted to grow, and this really supported us to do that.”

The company has plans to open a new round of funding this year whilst remaining tightly focused on proving the reliability and efficiency of their technology through its pilot projects. Despite the excitement surrounding their technology, Alex notes, “It’s very easy and common to overpromise and underdeliver. I won’t do that. We are still prototyping, and we need to prove that we can do what we say we can. For me, what that looks like is our stack delivering 10,000 operational hours in a stable, reliant, and efficient way.”

Tom Wolfenden, Sheffield Technology Parks CEO comments,

“Oort Energy is fast becoming a key player in the green hydrogen sector and we're pleased to support their team within our community as they join the melting pot of global innovators who have chosen Sheffield City Centre as their base.”

Find out more about Oort Energy on the website: oortenergy.com.

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