UKEF backs £400m loan to British hydrogen tech company with an eye on domestic and overseas markets

Wed 6 Apr 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

The UK government has underwritten a £400 million loan to a British specialist in hydrogen technology as it looks to alternatives to gas imports.

Johnson Matthey is one of only a handful of British companies investing in the technology. Its funding, which is being underwritten by government credit agency UK Export Finance, will be invested in research and development into sustainable technologies across the globe.

The government the move will support high-skilled jobs in the UK where the company employs thousands of people in Hertfordshire, Swindon, Lancashire and London. 

Energy security and exports

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Investments in hydrogen technologies will blast domestic energy production higher than ever – securing the future supply of cleaner energy at home and helping us to export abroad. This will make for a healthier, wealthier future for the UK while protecting the planet.”

The Daily Mail reports that the PM has set out plans to expand the amount of ‘clean’ hydrogen gas to heat homes and reduce reliance on foreign gas.

He is hoping to include targets to double production capacity from 5GW to 10GW and see it used in a third of UK homes by 2050.

The government’s energy strategy is to be revealed tomorrow (Thursday 7 April). A decision on whether hydrogen is safe for home use is not due until 2026, but transport and industrial use will be permitted before then.

Head start

As previously covered in the IOE&IT’s Daily Update, the government launched a plan to give the UK a head start in the hydrogen economy, last year.

It has predicted that the low carbon hydrogen sector could be worth £13bn and create 100,000 jobs by 2050, as well as export opportunities for British businesses.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the UK’s first-ever Hydrogen Strategy would drive forward the PM’s 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.

“With the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future, our strategy positions the UK as first in the global race to ramp up hydrogen technology and seize the thousands of jobs and private investment that come with it,” he said.