Car on road

Driving down transport emissions

Our global transport system is going through its biggest transition in decades.

Climate change and increasingly stringent air quality regulations are pushing the automotive industry to build cleaner engines and use new fuel sources, such as batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.

That’s where we come in. 

Cleaner air for all

Today, our emission control technologies are used in hundreds of millions of cars, buses and trucks around the world, helping to remove millions of tonnes of harmful pollutants, like nitrogen oxides and particulates, produced by gasoline and diesel engines. The end result is fewer harmful emissions from vehicles and cleaner air for everyone.

Despite a growing number of government deadlines to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles, we’re not going to see the traditional combustion engine disappear any time soon. So, we’ll continue to innovate and improve these technologies to keep people moving in the cleanest way possible while the transition towards battery and fuel cell vehicles takes place. 

New technology to enable the transition

Our technology is central to this transition. Because we understand the part metals play in complex reactions and electrochemistry inside batteries, we’re designing the next generation of battery cathode materials that will help drive the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the next decade. These nickel-rich, advanced technologies – that we call eLNO® – can help increase the amount of energy a battery holds allowing a car to travel further on a single charge. And because every customer’s needs and challenges are unique to them, we can tailor our cathode material products to their precise technical requirements.

Creating sustainable value chains

But we also have a responsibility to use our planet’s resources wisely and lower the impact of our own operations. That’s why the new battery materials factories we’re building in Poland and Finland will be powered by electricity from renewable sources as soon as they start production, and we’ve committed to make the production of our eLNO products climate neutral by 2035.

We’ve also signed up to the Global Battery Alliance’s ten guiding principles to help establish a sustainable battery value chain. Batteries are just one of the ways in which we can power a more sustainable transport network, though. For decades we’ve been using our knowledge of metals chemistry and electrochemistry to design and make the specialist catalyst coated membranes used inside fuel cells. Our very first fuel cell technologies even helped power the US space programme in the 1960s. Today, our focus is firmly back on Earth and our fuel cell technologies help vehicles that are less suited to batteries, such as long range trucks, and high use vehicles like buses, fork-lift trucks and some cars, run on the clean power of hydrogen.

There are many scientific, financial and policy challenges to overcome in both battery and fuel cell technology. But we’re working with our customers today to tackle those challenges and help make the transport revolution a reality.

Case study

Decarbonising heavy duty transport

Heavy duty transport is essential for keeping goods and people moving. But it’s also a major source of carbon emissions. In the EU alone, lorries, buses and coaches represent around one quarter of all road transport emissions.

Fuel cells have the potential to help decarbonise this part of our transport system. They’re ideal for heavy duty or high usage applications, such as trucks and buses, because of their longer range, low relative weight and fast refuelling times compared to battery alternatives. They use clean or low carbon fuels, such as hydrogen, to generate power without producing harmful emissions, since water is the only byproduct.

This is a growing market, with 5% of trucks globally expected to be powered by fuel cells by 2030, rising to one third by 2040.

We’re now scaling up our business to meet demand. For example, we’ve built a new facility in Shanghai, China, where the market for our catalyst coated membranes is expected to grow to more than £1 billion a year by 2030. Our broader expansion programme is now complete to double manufacturing capacity for products that will enable 2GW a year of power generation from fuel cells. We also announced a multi-million pound deal and joint development agreement with SFC Energy, a global leader in hydrogen and direct methanol fuel cells, to supply at least 400,000 membrane electrode assemblies.

Lorry

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Decarbonising chemicals production

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Creating a truly circular economy

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Jungle

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Strategy

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Sustainability

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Annual Report 2021

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