Loughborough company unveils breakthrough hydrogen fuel cell to unlock zero emission future for passenger cars

  • Intelligent Energy system has the power to transform mobility on a global scale
  • Breakthrough product is more powerful and compact than other power solutions
  • Patented engine-shaped fuel cell is first of its kind to be developed by a UK company
  • Car powered by fuel cell breaks cover at Intelligent Energy HQ on Holywell Park
  • Technology rollout could bring mass employment opportunities to the East Midlands 
  • Intelligent Energy’s work positions it as a global leader in the hydrogen fuel cell sector


Jane Hunt MP and Intelligent Energy CEO, David Woolhouse
Jane Hunt MP and Intelligent Energy CEO, David Woolhouse

Loughborough, UK: A technology company that is based in Loughborough has unveiled a brand-new hydrogen fuel cell that has the power to make the global rollout of zero emission passenger cars a reality – and boost the East Midlands and UK economy.

Intelligent Energy, which originally spun out of Loughborough University and is based on campus at Holywell Park, is a leading developer and manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cell technology and employs more than 200 people in the East Midlands.

At a time when the world is searching for a truly sustainable, zero emission mobility solution, the privately-owned company has made a crucial breakthrough by developing a passenger car-specific hydrogen fuel cell that is smaller and more powerful than any other solution on the market.

Intelligent Energy’s patented IE-DRIVE™ system therefore gives passenger car manufacturers direct access to the turnkey and commercially-viable hydrogen fuel cell solution that is needed to make zero emission mobility a global reality in the passenger car market.

Fuel cells are regarded as a crucial component in the mission to decarbonise mobility. They are lighter, more efficient, and go further than batteries. They can also be refuelled in minutes, are recyclable, and don’t rely on the national grid.

Intelligent Energy’s platform, which is the first of its kind to be designed and manufactured by a British company, is the result of a four-year, £22 million project that got underway in November 2019 and was supported by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

The unveiling of the DRIVE fuel cell product marks a pivotal moment on the journey towards zero emission mobility and Intelligent Energy is now ready to roll its technology out to the global passenger car market.

David Woolhouse, Intelligent Energy’s Chief Executive, said: “With 25% of all passenger cars expected to have hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, this clean technology represents the future. I’m proud that, as an independent and privately-owned company from Loughborough, Intelligent Energy has developed a breakthrough solution that can open up the market for passenger car manufacturers that need to package a more powerful system into their vehicles.

“Our DRIVE product has the potential to shake up the hydrogen fuel cell market and accelerate the transition towards zero emission mobility.”

Intelligent Energy’s work doesn’t just stand to benefit the drive to zero emission mobility. The addressable global fuel cell market for passenger cars and vans is anticipated to be worth $750 billion (£596 billion) by 2040, and if car manufacturers adopt its IE-DRIVE™ fuel cell technology, the company could scale up its manufacturing capability in the East Midlands – a move that would create significant new employment opportunities and provide a major boost to both the regional and UK economy.

David Woolhouse added: “The addressable market for passenger car fuel cells is huge, so the number of jobs that could be generated would be significant. Manufacturing at scale would be the work of mega-factories to meet demand. The future of fuel cells is a lot of cars, jobs and wealth for the country. It’s an exciting prospect for UK industry.”

Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough, said: “Once again, Loughborough is in pole position with Intelligent Energy at the forefront of hydrogen vehicle technology.”

Commenting on the success of the APC-funded project that supported Intelligent Energy’s work in the passenger car fuel cell field, Nusrat Ghani, the Minister of State for Industry and Economic Security at the Department for Business and Trade, said: “The Advanced Propulsion Centre does an outstanding job supporting our automotive sector in the net zero transition. It’s fantastic to see their project with Intelligent Energy realise such an important hydrogen fuel cell technology breakthrough with a product that is designed and manufactured here in the UK.” 




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Media enquiries: 

Hannah Prigg

E: hannah.prigg@groupwhistle.com

T: +44 7860 864533


Laura Salvada-Boussi

E: laura.salvadaboussi@groupwhistle.com

T: +44 7791 880009


About Intelligent Energy Limited

Intelligent Energy is a leader in the development and manufacture of cutting-edge hydrogen fuel cells that overcome the limitations of conventional battery-powered systems.

The privately-owned company, which has 600 patents in place, has been innovating for more than two decades in the automotive, aerospace, power generation, telecoms, materials handling and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sectors.

With its activities spanning key markets in the UK, US, China, South Korea, and Japan, Intelligent Energy has a truly global reach.




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