UK plans $95 million hydrogen gigafactory

An indication for a hydrogen gas pump at a prepare refueling station in Germany. Hydrogen has a various vary of functions and can be utilized in a lot of industries.

Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A U.Ok.-headquartered agency stated Monday it was constructing an £80 million ($95.9 million) “gigafactory” specializing within the manufacture of hydrogen gas cell parts, with operations deliberate to start out within the first half of 2024.

In an announcement, London-listed Johnson Matthey stated the power in Royston, England, would be capable of produce 3 gigawatts of proton trade membrane gas cell parts per 12 months. Also referred to as polymer electrolyte membrane gas cells, the U.S. authorities says PEM gas cells in cars “use hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electricity.” PEM gas cells are constructed from a lot of completely different supplies.

The concept is that the parts will probably be utilized by hydrogen autos, with the announcement referencing street freight. Earlier stories about JM’s plans for a hydrogen gigafactory had been printed by The Sunday Times in Nov. 2021.

Johnson Matthey’s plans have obtained backing from the U.Ok. authorities by way of the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s Automotive Transformation Fund, a funding program centered on large-scale industrialization.

The concept behind gas cell autos is that hydrogen from a tank mixes with oxygen, producing electrical energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, gas cell autos emit “only water vapor and warm air.”

In its personal announcement on Monday, the Advanced Propulsion Centre stated it was forecasting that U.Ok. demand for gas cells could be roughly 10 GW by 2030, rising to 14 GW by the 12 months 2035. This, it added, could be “equivalent to 140,000 vehicles.”

The APC stated gas cell autos had been “as quick to refuel as a standard combustion engine and have a range and power density to rival diesel engines.” This made them “perfect for heavy duty applications” similar to heavy items autos, or HGVs.

“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,” Liam Condon, chief government of Johnson Matthey, stated.

Read extra about electrical autos from CNBC Pro

JM is one in every of a number of corporations engaged on know-how associated to hydrogen gas cell autos. At the top of June, Tevva, one other firm based mostly within the U.Ok., launched a hydrogen-electric heavy items car.

The identical month noticed Volvo Trucks announce it had begun to check autos that use “fuel cells powered by hydrogen,” with the Swedish agency saying their vary may prolong to as a lot as 1,000 kilometers, or a little bit over 621 miles.

While some are excited concerning the potential of gas cell autos within the years forward, their present market share stays small in comparison with battery electrical autos.

According to the International Energy Agency’s Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2022 report, the world’s gas cell electrical car inventory stood at round 51,600 in 2021.

The IEA says electrical car gross sales — that’s, gross sales of battery electrical and plug-in hybrid autos — hit 6.6 million in 2021. In the primary quarter of 2022, EV gross sales got here to 2 million, a 75% improve in comparison with the primary three months of 2021.

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