Johnson Matthey (JM) is building an £80-million (US$96-million ) gigafactory at its existing site in Royston, UK, to scale up the manufacture of hydrogen fuel cell components. Earlier this year, JM announced a refreshed strategy, with an ambition to be the market leader in performance components for fuel cells and electrolyzers, targeting more than £200 million sales in hydrogen technologies by end of 2024/25.
The gigafactory will initially be capable of manufacturing 3GW of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell components annually for hydrogen vehicles and is supported by the UK Government through the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF).
The APC forecasts that the UK will need 14GW of fuel cell stack production and 400,000 high pressure carbon fiber tanks annually to meet local vehicle production demands by 2035 while the market expects that there could be as many as 3 million fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on the road globally by 2030.
The investment will safeguard highly skilled manufacturing jobs in the UK. The site is expected to be in operation by H1, 2024.
The new facility at Royston will deploy state-of-the-art manufacturing processes to scale up production of fuel cell components and to meet customer demand. The site could be expanded in the future, almost tripling potential capacity by using the decommissioned Clean Air production facility, to produce both fuel cell and green hydrogen components.
Road freight accounts for about 9% of global CO2 emissions, with 62% arising from medium and heavy-duty trucking—the hardest-to-abate transport segments. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) provide similar benefits to existing technology such as fast refueling and long range but emit zero curbside CO2 or other pollutants, so they are a popular option for decarbonizing heavy-duty commercial vehicles and are core to a net zero future.