University R&D underpins global leader in PEM fuel cell technology
Innovation and benefits
During the late 1980s, the University became one of Europe's first R&D centres for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology and, in 1995, the research team produced the UK's first kW-level PEM fuel cell stack. The technology provides a sustainable and green source of electricity which is twice as efficient as the internal combustion engine. To date, Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell technology has been successfully deployed to power air and road vehicles as well as applications across the logistics, construction and communication sectors.
In 1995, Advanced Power Sources (APS) Ltd, a Loughborough University spinout, was formed to commercialise its world-leading PEM fuel cell technology. Intelligent Energy acquired APS – its personnel and IP – in 2001 and the company expanded rapidly, making its headquarters on LUSEP.
Long-standing shareholder, Meditor, acquired Intelligent Energy in October 2017. Since then, Meditor has accelerated investment to facilitate further development and commercialisation of the technology and expansion of the product offering.
Intelligent Energy has offices or representation in the UK, US, Japan, Korea and China. The company employs around 200 people and has established a global network of distributors, regional support, servicing, integration and fuelling partners.
It has worked with a range of companies – including Boeing, Airbus, Suzuki, Lotus, Changan, ZeroAvia, Peugeot Citroën, Alexander Dennis and Robert Bosch GmbH – to develop some of the world's first road and air vehicles powered by PEM fuel cells – paving the way for cleaner, low emission travel.
Beyond the transport sector, the technology has applications in the logistics, construction and telecommunications industries – in fact anywhere where a zero emission, near silent, reliable and minimal maintenance power source is desirable.
The Intelligent Energy Charitable Trust, launched in January 2019, has already awarded more than £100,000 to 18 Charnwood organisations that support a variety of community initiatives, young people, sport and lifelong learning.
The researchers involved in the original research and launch of APS have gained extensive commercial experience, and some are still employed by Intelligent Energy.
Research in related areas of electrochemistry is on-going within the University, and Intelligent Energy retains strong links with the campus’ research community to continue its R&D activities.
The R&D and its commercialisation was submitted as a REF case study in 2014, acknowledging the University’s role as a leading proponent within the growing sector of PEM fuel cell technology.
The activity has also generated numerous widely published papers and attracted substantial research funding.
Based on LUSEP, Intelligent Energy draws on the University’s expertise and recruits its graduates whilst contributing to the wider community via its charitable trust.