Johnson Matthey guns for hydrogen with new partnership

Johnson Matthey is to partner with US-based Plug Power until at least 2030, as the British company continues to focus on its green hydrogen-related business.

Green hydrogen has been identified by some as a potentially important way of decarbonising transport, by powering vehicles with only water as a by-product, as countries are looking to meet their net zero goals.

Johnson Matthey is an important supplier of catalyst coated membranes (CCMs), which are a key component of fuel cells which use hydrogen fuel to generate electricity.

The London-based firm said it would supply a substantial portion of Plug’s demand for components of fuel cells and electrolysers, to be used for green hydrogen production. 

The FTSE 100 firm, which makes catalytic converters for vehicles and refines the platinum group of metals used mainly by automakers, said last year it was exiting its battery materials business due to tough competition and low returns.

It said it is targeting £200 million pounds ($246 million) in sales from its hydrogen technology business by 2025, compared with just £25 million last year, and expects “significant sales growth” thereafter.

Johnson Matthey said the companies would jointly invest in up to 10 gigawatt new CCM manufacturing capacity in the United States, which would begin production in 2025.

The company said the capital expenditure for the facility was included within its £1 billion  three-year capital expenditure outlook outlined in 2022.