Market News

 February 21, 2012
Carbon Trust backs fuel-cell pioneers with £1m funding

 Four UK fuel-cell pioneers have been given a share of £1m in Carbon Trust funding as part of a programme to reduce the cost of the technology and cement the UK's leadership in the development of fuel cells.

The money has been equally split between a project to develop a new hybrid high-power, low-cost hydrogen fuel cell by ACAL Energy and ITM Power, and joint work between Imperial College London and University College London. The two universities are working on a fuel cell that could offer significant cost savings by employing existing high-volume manufacturing techniques used to produce circuit boards.

The funding comes from the Carbon Trust's Polymer Fuel Cells Challenge (PFCC). The PFCC was launched in 2009 to support the government's objectives to develop lower-cost fuel cells and to grab a significant share of a global market the Trust estimates could be worth $26bn (£16bn) in 2020.

Supporters of hydrogen vehicle technologies argue affordable cars, buses and vans could be on UK streets by 2017, leaving time for wide-spread refuelling networks to be developed.

The latest funding announcement comes just a month after the government launched the UKH2Mobility project to accelerate the commercial roll-out of vehicles running on hydrogen fuel cells.

Dr Ben Graziano, technology commercialisation manager at the Carbon Trust, said the money could help develop "truly world-class British technologies".

"The UK's home-grown automotive industry hasn't been the runaway success story many would have hoped for, but British technology is in pole position to be under the bonnet of a next generation of mass-produced hydrogen-powered cars," he said.

"After a lot of hype, fuel-cell technology is now a great growth opportunity for the UK... [and] by 2017, British fuel-cell technologies could be powering your car."