Johnson Matthey ramps up on Green Hydrogen - Eugene McKenna appointed as business head

  • Clean hydrogen, produced with low or zero emissions, is vital for decarbonising long distance transport energy intensive industrial processes.
  • JM technologies already at the heart of enabling clean hydrogen production and fuel cell applications.
  • JM is increasing efforts on green hydrogen, leveraging core science capabilities and market expertise to drive large scale adoption.
  • Countries and regions setting ambitious targets which are driving the hydrogen economy.
  • JM well positioned – significant growth opportunities in the hydrogen space.

Johnson Matthey, a leader in sustainable technologies, including those at the heart of the hydrogen economy, announces it has appointed Eugene McKenna as Managing Director of its green hydrogen activities.

Eugene, who has been with JM for four years, moves from his role leading business development, strategy and innovation within JM’s Efficient Natural Resources Sector, where he focused on a pipeline of innovative low carbon technologies including those for clean hydrogen. Prior to joining JM he spent more than 20 years in Shell in a variety of roles including technology commercialisation and strategy.

Hydrogen produced with low or zero emissions is at the heart of the global energy transition and JM is a key technology partner for clean hydrogen with business activities spanning hydrogen production and fuel cells.

As the world unites to tackle climate change and commitment to achieve ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions increases, a significant shift is required towards low and zero carbon sources of electricity.  While renewable energy sources (like wind and solar) will work for some applications – domestic heating, cars and vans and lighter industrial processes – they won’t get us to net zero on their own.

Hydrogen provides a clean source of power for energy hungry applications like long distance trucks and buses, as well as for energy intense industrial processes, such as steelmaking and cement, and in submarine and rail applications.  There are two types: blue hydrogen – which is manufactured from methane but with less than 5% CO2 emissions, and green hydrogen – where renewable energy is used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen with no carbon dioxide emissions, by a process called electrolysis.  Both are vital in decarbonising heavy transport and industry and, within the next decade, blue and green hydrogen technologies will start to replace current production methods for hydrogen (called grey hydrogen).

While the market for clean hydrogen is in its early stages, ambitious targets are already being set.  For example, within the recently announced EU hydrogen strategy, Germany alone has committed to invest €7 billion in hydrogen-related businesses.  JM is well positioned to enable the global hydrogen economy. Our market leading LCHTM technology (for blue hydrogen) is at the core of several ground breaking new projects and our fuel cells technology is already out on the roads, powering more than 700 zero carbon buses.

For green hydrogen, JM has unique expertise in the critical technologies for electrolysis and can see a substantial and valuable market for these technologies.

In his new role, Eugene will continue the development of JM’s green hydrogen business, which will centre on the design and manufacture of the catalyst coated membranes which operate at the heart of the electrolysis process. This business will leverage JM’s deep expertise in platinum group metal science and fuel cell manufacture to drive the performance and dramatic cost reduction needed for large scale adoption of green hydrogen.

Commenting, Eugene McKenna said:

“I’m delighted to be heading up JM’s activities in green hydrogen as we leverage the strong overlap of our fuel cells and our core science capabilities to improve the performance and the economics for our customers. We are well positioned to bring new solutions to the hydrogen space to drive the energy transition that is so vital in creating a cleaner and healthier world.”

LCH is a trademark of Johnson Matthey Public Limited Company

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