Johnson Matthey’s £50m hydrogen gigafactory

Hydrogen is providing the UK with a second chance to put themselves at the cutting edge of the energy transition, since China have long dominated the battery industry in which they own a reported 70% of the supply chain.

Johnson Matthey, the £4 billion UK engineering group, is accelerating its pivot towards hydrogen with plans to build a £50 million Gigafactory producing hydrogen fuel cells.

The company shocked investors last month when it suddenly announced an end to its plans to produce battery components blaming the lack of profits available in the battery sector.

The factory, likely to be built on an existing site in Royston, Hertfordshire, will have the capacity to manufacture 3 GW of products, creating 100s of jobs in the process, and will be partly funded by a £12 million grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, The Times reported.

The project is another sign of the industrial renaissance taking place in the UK as the government backs the creation of a hydrogen economy.

It follows the release of the Johnson administration’s Net Zero Strategy in October, which included the setting up of two industrial clusters – an East Coast Cluster near Hull and the Hynet project in Liverpool Bay – focused on carbon capture and storage, a key process in the creation of blue hydrogen.

Other major hydrogen projects announced recently include the Port of Shoreham in West Sussex, which last week granted H2 Green permission to develop a renewable energy hub on the site. The facility will initially produce hydrogen through electrolysis to power the Port’s own fleet of heavy goods vehicles and forklifts before ramping up production to serve the 800 HGVs that use Port of Shoreham daily for other organisations.

Earlier this month, Ryze Hydrogen made a multi-billion pound agreement to buy green hydrogen from Australia and distribute it to UK customers including industrial machinery giant JCB.

Last month, Octopus Energy announced its intention to invest £3 billion in green hydrogen production in the UK by 2030 with partner RES. BP is proposing a blue hydrogen production hub in Teesside, while Trafford Green Hydrogen subsidiary Carlton Power is planning an industrial-scale facility in Carrington.

The UK released its Hydrogen Strategy in August with the goal of attracting £4 billion of private-sector investment by laying the foundations for a thriving hydrogen industry. It predicted that the UK hydrogen economy could be worth £900 million and create over 9,000 high-quality jobs by 2030, rising to 100,000 jobs and £13 billion by 2050.

Johnson Matthey is one of the companies leading the charge. It has pledged to invest about £1 billion in the research, development and deployment of clean hydrogen technologies by 2030. It is involved in numerous parts of the hydrogen value chain, including fuel cell components and hydrogen production catalysts.

For more about Ryze Hydrogen click here.

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