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Johnson Matthey to build CCM plant in China for PEM fuel cells and electrolyzers

Johnson Matthey (JM) signed an investment agreement with the Jiading District in Shanghai to help accelerate the hydrogen economy in China. JM and the Shanghai Jiading District plan to build a new catalyst-coated membrane (CCM) production facility, providing CCM production capability for multiple proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications and PEM electrolyzers.

CCMs graphic

CCMs consist of precisely structured catalysts—typically platinum (cathode) and iridium (anode)—that are applied to solid membranes in a way which maximizes hydrogen production. Water flows into the CCM, where an iridium catalyst uses electrical energy to break water molecules into oxygen, protons and electrons. The electrons are driven through the external circuit and protons then cross the membrane. A platinum catalyst puts the protons and electrons back together to form hydrogen. Source: JM

The facility which will have an initial capacity of up to 5GW, will occupy

22,000 m2 in the Jiading district of Shanghai, in a designated Hydrogen industrial zone and is due to be operational in 2025. It will have potential to expand further in line with customer demand.

The investment, which is backed by customer demand, is part of JM’s £1.1-billion global stated capital expernditure for the three years to 2024/25 and will include government support and incentives.

This is a landmark investment for our business as we build our footprint in the US, Europe and now China, cementing our presence in all three major hydrogen markets. We are excited to expand our businesses whilst creating and scaling the low carbon solutions that will help China achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

—Dr Mark Su, President of Greater China at Johnson Matthey

The new production facility will enable Johnson Matthey to supply existing Chinese and international customers with locally produced CCMs, and in addition there is a strong pipeline of further customer interest across both fuel cell and renewable (green) hydrogen technologies.

CCMs are key performance-defining components in fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). China has said it aims to have 1 million hydrogen-powered vehicles on its road by 2030.

JM is one of China’s leading auto catalyst producers and platinum group metals traders and refiners, and a leading player across syngas and hydrogen fuel cells. JM was the first commercial-scale membrane electrode assembly (MEA) producer in China, producing the MEAs for hydrogen fuel cell shuttle buses showcased in the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022.


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