Johnson Matthey has been involved in the hydrogen space for decades and our experience cuts across many parts of the value chain. In hydrogen production, we have a market leading position in catalysts, and we have new technologies for blue and green hydrogen production. Once produced, transporting and distributing this key molecule is challenging; our process technologies are helping navigate this by transforming hydrogen into energy carriers. And in hydrogen applications, we develop and manufacture the key components at the heart of hydrogen fuel cells and our catalyst and process technology is used to transform hydrogen into chemicals and fuels.
In blue hydrogen, our LCHTM technology has best-in-class environmental and economic credentials. It enables low carbon hydrogen production with up to 98% of the produced CO2 captured as a high pressure, high purity stream. The CO2 can then be stored in oil fields, or it can also be an excellent source as a raw material for transforming into chemicals and fuels.
Our LCH technology offers striking advantages including:
- High efficiency, resulting in lowest natural gas usage per unit of hydrogen
- Optimised design reducing CAPEX by 40% compared to conventional steam methane reforming technologies coupled with carbon capture
- A very low carbon footprint. In fact, recent analysis by the Hydrogen Council shows that autothermal reforming-based options, like JM’s LCH technology, can compete with solar green hydrogen in a life cycle analysis.
And crucially this technology is deployable today, allowing us to start moving to net-zero. For example, our technology is being used in the HyNet project – the UK’s first low carbon hydrogen plant – which is set to have an 80 kt per annum capacity.
Fuel cell technology
Our fuel cell technology dates back to almost when Johnson Matthey was first founded. We supplied the platinum when William Grove first demonstrated a fuel cell in the 1830s. And in the 1960s, Johnson Matthey even supplied the electrocatalysts for the fuel cells that provided onboard power for the Gemini and Apollo Space Missions.
Over the last two decades, we’ve been developing fuel cell technologies globally, supplying the catalyst coated membranes (CCMs) and membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) that are the performance-defining components at the heart of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cell.
We’re the only MEA supplier in the industry with in-house catalyst and membrane technologies. This enables us to customise our offering to meet our customer’s specific requirements. Success in the fuel cells market rests on building collaborative relationships with our customers, working closely to solve the challenge of balancing often competing demands of performance, durability and cost. Since 2005, Johnson Matthey has participated in over 50 fuel cell development programmes, collaborating with the world’s leading automotive brands to advance fuel cell technology and manufacturing processes.
Green hydrogen electrolyser technology
Green hydrogen is produced using energy from renewables, such as wind and solar, to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases in a device known as an electrolyser.
We launched our green hydrogen business in 2020; entering the PEM electrolyser space was a natural step for us. Building on our experience in fuel cells and platinum group metal chemistry, we design and manufacture innovative CCMs for green hydrogen production, at scale, incorporating our proprietary membrane technology and market leading catalysts.