Johnson Matthey plots new hydrogen gigafactory


Johnson Matthey (JM) is set to build a £80mn gigafactory at its existing site in Royston.

On 18 July, it announced that the gigfactory will scale up the manufacture of hydrogen fuel cell components, with the capability of manufacturing as much as 3GW of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell components annually for hydrogen vehicles. It will also safeguard a host of highly skilled manufacturing jobs in the UK, once operational in 2024.

It will deploy state-of-the-art manufacturing processes to scale up production, while will also have the potential to be expanded in future. This could see capacity near tripled by using a decommissioned Clean Air production facility to produce both fuel cell and green hydrogen components. JM previously refreshed its strategy this year, aiming to become a “market leader in performance components for fuel cells and electrolysers”, targeting over £200mn in hydrogen technologies sales by the end of 2024-25.

Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the APC, responsible for managing the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) – which is supporting the project – said the gigafactory was “incredibly significant” and put the UK in an “enviable position” in the global fuel cell supply chain.

Constance continued: “Our insight forecasts that the UK could dominate European fuel cell production and be a centre of excellence globally and today’s announcement is a huge step towards realising that ambition. 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.”