Johnson Matthey announces UK investment to increase hydrogen fuel cell component production

Sophie Handler

20-Jul-2022

LONDON (ICIS)–Johnson Matthey (JM) has announced a plan to construct a facility at its Royston, UK, manufacturing site to produce components for hydrogen fuel cells on the back of projected increased demand, the UK-based firm said.

With an initial annual capacity of 3GW of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell components, the  £80m investment is part of JM’s strategy to reach £200m sales in hydrogen technologies by 2024/25 and become the market leader for fuel cells and electrolysers.

The UK government has announced their support of the hydrogen gigafactory’s upgrade through the Automotive Transformation Fund and Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

The APC has forecast that this will contribute towards the 14 gigawatts (GW) of fuel cell stack production estimated to be needed to meet local vehicle production demands by 2035.

The site will potentially be further expanded in the future, which could triple its capacity by using a decommissioned clean air production facility at the site.

The company began moving production of clean air catalysts out of its Royston facility, which was its most expensive site for the products, in its 2021 fiscal year, according to clean air finance director Alasdair Judge, speaking in February this year.

Increased fuel cell production from companies like JM will help towards producing more hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. These provide an option for decarbonising heavy-duty net zero vehicles and are thought to potentially stand as a key factor in achieving net zero targets.

“Decarbonising freight transportation is critical to help societies and industries meet their ambitious net zero emission targets – fuel cells will be a crucial part of the energy transition,” said JM chief Liam Condon.

The investment is also expected to provide and safeguard manufacturing jobs in the UK when it is expected to begin its operations in 2024.

These upgrades are set to put the UK in an improved position on the global fuel cell supply chain in coming years.

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