Johnson Matthey to Build Fuel Cell Component Gigafactory in UK 

Membrane electrode assembly from Johnson Matthey 

Johnson Matthey is planning to an £80 million gigafactory at its existing site in Royston, UK, to scale up the manufacture of hydrogen fuel cell components. The plan follows on the company’s ambition unveiled earlier this year to be the market leader in performance components for fuel cells and electrolysers, targeting more than £200 million sales in hydrogen technologies by the end of 2024/25. 

To be located at JM’s existing site in Royston, initially the factory will be capable of manufacturing 3GW of proton exchange membrane fuel cell components annually for hydrogen vehicles. The plant is expected to begin operation in the first half of 2024. The site could be expanded in the future, almost tripling potential capacity by using a decommissioned clean air production facility to produce both fuel cell and green hydrogen components. 

It is supported by the UK Government through the Automotive Transformation Fund and Advanced Propulsion Centre. 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 three million fuel cell electric vehicles on the road globally by 2030. 

Named CEO of Johnson Matthey in March, Liam Condon previously was president of the crop science division of Bayer. 

“Decarbonizing 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,” said Liam Condon, CEO, in announcing the plan. For more than two decades, JM has been at the forefront of fuel cell innovation. The fuel cell market has now reached a pivotal moment with the increasing urgency to decarbonize transportation and today marks the next step of the journey to a low-carbon future in the UK.” 

Ian Constance, CEO of Advanced Propulsion Centre 

“This is incredibly significant and puts the UK in an enviable position in the global fuel cell supply chain,” said Ian Constance, chief executive of the APC, the organization tasked by the automotive industry and government to accelerate development of green vehicle technology and responsible for managing ATF, said: Our insight forecasts that the UK could dominate European fuel cell production and be a center of excellence globally.” 

“We already have 15% of the fuel cell value chain radiating from UK businesses but this could be as much as 65% just by expanding on current strengths in electrochemistry and coatings or using our automotive capability to volume manufacture components. Johnson Matthey, a world-leader in hydrogen technology, have seen this opportunity and I’m delighted they have chosen the UK to grow this capability.” For more info see