A Cornwall-based innovator in hydrogen technologies is planning global expansion, following marketing, innovation and internationalisation support from Innovate UK EDGE.
A Cornwall-based electrochemical innovator is helping accelerate the transition to Net Zero Carbon by making the production of hydrogen more efficient and affordable.
TFP Hydrogen Products specialises in making the components necessary for ‘electrolysis’ – a process that uses electricity to split water into its component parts of hydrogen and oxygen.
The company’s advanced products, including catalysts, membranes and coated electrodes, increase both the efficiency and the lifetime of water electrolyser units. Their nanostructured systems maximise active surface areas and enhance component durability and performance.
This technology will form an integral part of future UK and international electricity production.
Electrolysers can be used effectively in tandem with other renewable energy sources. By using this process of extracting hydrogen when there is excess energy in the grid – particularly on windy or sunny days, when renewable energy sources are operating, hydrogen can be produced and stored cheaply for later use. Fuel cells can then convert the stored hydrogen back into electricity when renewable energy is not so readily available for instance at night or on still days, the only by-product of the process being clean water.
“If we’re to reach our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, all the modelling indicates that hydrogen will have to play a role,” says Dr David Hodgson, Managing Director, TFP Hydrogen Products. “So, the question isn’t: do we need it? It’s: how much do we need?”
A 2017 McKinsey study for the Hydrogen Council predicted that by 2050, hydrogen will account for 18% of global energy consumption, reducing CO2 emissions from current levels by 6 gigatonnes and creating more than 30 million jobs.
David goes on to say, “we’re here to accelerate the transition to hydrogen energy by improving the performance of electrolysers and reducing the final cost to consumers as much as possible.”
Innovation process support from Innovate UK EDGE
In early 2020, TFP Hydrogen Products decided to focus on streamlining its ‘idea to invoice’ process and began work with Innovate UK EDGE innovation and growth specialist, Paul Albone, an expert in lean process manufacturing.
“After his visit, Paul came back to us with a surprising conclusion: that we were already executing our strategy with a high level of efficiency. Our processes were strong, but we just needed to install a little more discipline.”
“That made a huge difference to us because it gave us the freedom and confidence to get on with the job, without worrying about whether we were missing a trick.”
Marketing and acquisition support
TFP Hydrogen Products next decided to fuel its growth by implementing a comprehensive marketing review and Innovate UK EDGE marketing specialist, Maggie Robinson, stepped in to assist.
“Maggie was very straightforward with us, she asked some tough questions and helped us install real discipline in our approach to messaging. We now have a tangible strategy, based on thorough analysis of our market segment, that’s generating strong leads through website development, SEO and other digital channels.”
TFP Hydrogen Products continued to grow its market presence and in January 2021, was successfully acquired by Technical Fibre Products.
“Having worked with Maggie and Paul, we found we had ready-made answers to a lot of the questions put to us by the acquiring partner, and real confidence in how we were presenting our company.”
To accelerate their international expansion, TFP Hydrogen Products participated in Innovate UK EDGE’s Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) and joined two funded technology visits to Israel and South Korea. David’s team held pre-arranged meetings with key industry players, visited cutting-edge manufacturing facilities and attended a number of major battery and hydrogen events.
“We were able to establish and cement some important relationships that we’ll look to convert into active partnerships.”
TFP Hydrogen Products now plans to scale rapidly in North America, Europe and Asia, supporting not only the UK’s, but global aspirations for low-carbon energy production.
Innovate UK EDGE will continue to provide support every step of the way as this Cornwall-based innovator helps solve our global energy challenges.