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New UK hydrogen fund has 40 companies in its sights

“The UK has missed the boat on batteries, a sector dominated by China and the Far East, but we can be global leaders in the production and supply of hydrogen,” said the fund co-founder Jo Bamford

Ceres Power Holdings PLC - New UK hydrogen fund has 40 companies in its sights

A UK hydrogen investment fund is raising £1bn ahead of the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow this year to speed up the production and supply of green hydrogen.

HyCap has been set up by Jo Bamford, heir of the JCB diggers empire, and Vedra Partners, a boutique private equity firm. 

It has already identified more than 40 companies in the hydrogen space which will be evaluated for investment.

The fund is following up on Bamford's existing interests in hydrogen, having stepped in to rescue Wrightbus, the Northern Ireland zero-emissions bus manufacturer that rolled out its first hydrogen-powered bus on the streets of Aberdeen earlier this year. He also owns the Ryze, a producer and distributor of green hydrogen.

Bamford said he founded HyCap in the wake of the damning UN climate change report earlier this year, which warned that the planet is warming much more quickly than previously predicted.

READ: UN climate warning - eight things investors can do

“It is our belief that hydrogen holds the key to reducing emissions and there is a growing sense of urgency to act now,” he said.

HyCap plans to invest to help Britain accelerate the production of green hydrogen, which is where the gas is produced by clean energy sources - as opposed to cheaper but dirtier blue and grey hydrogen.

The renewed interest in hydrogen of late is down to various factors, Bamford said, including hydrogen roadmaps set out by various countries, including the UK government pledging to have 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030.

“The UK has missed the boat on batteries, a sector dominated by China and the Far East, but we can be global leaders in the production and supply of hydrogen,” he said.

“We have also discovered that investors around the world match the ambitions of global governments in wanting green-focused funds which have a positive impact on climate change.”

Hydrogen-focused companies listed in London include fuel cell specialists Ceres Power Holdings PLC (LSE:CWR), ITM Power, AFC Energy PLC (AIM:AFC, OTC:AFGYF, FRA:QC8); while Powerhouse Energy Group PLC (AIM:PHE, FRA:BT81) is installing a technology that turns waste into a gas that can be converted into hydrogen.

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