UK to build $95 million hydrogen gigafactory

A hydrogen fuel pump sign at a gas station in Germany. Hydrogen has a wide range of applications and can be used in a number of industries.

Christian Bochi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The UK-headquartered company said on Monday it is building an £80 million ($95.9 million) “gigafactory” specializing in the production of hydrogen fuel cell components, scheduled to launch in the first half of 2024.

In a statement registered in London Johnson Matty said the facility in Royston, England, would be able to produce 3 gigawatts of proton exchange membrane fuel cell components per year. They are also known as polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, according to the US government. PEM fuel cells in cars “use hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to generate electricity.” PEM fuel cells are made from a variety of materials.

The idea is that the components will be used in hydrogen vehicles, with the ad referring to road transport. Earlier it was reported about JM’s plans to create a hydrogen gigafactory. were published by The Sunday Times in November. 2021

Johnson Matthey’s plans received support from the UK government through the Advanced Engine Center’s Automotive Transformation Fund, a funding program focused on large-scale industrialization.

The idea behind fuel cell vehicles is that hydrogen from a tank mixes with oxygen to produce electricity. According to the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, fuel cell vehicles emit “only water vapor and warm air.”

In its own statement Monday, the Advanced Propulsion Center said it predicts UK fuel cell demand to be around 10 GW by 2030, rising to 14 GW by 2035. This, he added, would be “the equivalent of 140,000 cars.” . “

APC said that fuel cell vehicles “refuel as quickly as a standard internal combustion engine, and their range and power density rival those of diesel engines.” This made them “ideal for heavy duty applications” such as heavy duty vehicles or heavy duty vehicles.

“The decarbonization of freight transport is critical to helping society and industries achieve their ambitious zero-emissions targets – fuel cells will be an important part of the energy transition,” said Liam Condon, CEO of Johnson Matthey.

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JM is one of several firms working on technologies related to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. At the end of June, Tevva, another company based in the UK, launched a hydrogen-electric truck.

In the same month, Volvo Trucks announced the start of to test vehicles using “hydrogen fuel cells” The Swedish firm said they could have a range of up to 1,000 kilometers, or just over 621 miles.

While some are encouraged by the potential of fuel cell vehicles in the coming years, their current market share remains small compared to battery electric vehicles.

According to the International Energy Agency’s Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2022 report, in 2021 the global fleet of fuel cell electric vehicles was about 51,600 units.

The IEA reports that EV sales, i.e. sales of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles, reached 6.6 million in 2021. In the first quarter of 2022, electric vehicle sales reached 2 million, up 75% from the first three years. months of 2021.