Cumbrian group lines up deal for green fuels business

Phil Wild

James Cropper, the Cumbria-based paper manufacturer, has announced an agreement to acquire a company linked to the creation of green hydrogen.

Technical Fibre Products (TFP), a subsidiary of Kendal-based Cropper, will acquire PV3 Technologies, which specialises in the development and manufacture of electrochemical materials used in producing green hydrogen.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, is the latest step in TFP’s growth and will increase TFP’s portfolio of products for hydrogen technologies to provide new opportunities for growth and market penetration.

TFP supplies materials into a wide range of markets including aerospace, defence, composites, wind energy and fuel cells.

James Cropper has been committed to advancing hydrogen fuel cell technology for more than three decades, building the capacity and expertise to establish an already strong position in the market.

PV3, established in 2011, is based in Launceston, Cornwall.

It serves a small number of customers, mainly within the hydrogen sector and is well placed to grow within the hydrogen production market and has existing capacity in place to grow substantially.

Following the acquisition, PV3 Technologies will be called TFP Hydrogen Products.

The hydrogen economy has always been a strong focus for TFP. It is anticipated that the use of hydrogen will increase eight-fold by 2050.

These growth prospects reflect the impetus for a low carbon economy, with legislative changes, energy security concerns and the decreasing costs of hydrogen improving its competitiveness as an energy source.

Phil Wild, James Cropper chief executive, said: “The acquisition of PV3 Technologies is the latest step in TFP’s growth plans, providing the opportunity to further enhance TFP’s market position in the hydrogen economy.

“Fuel cells are already a key growth market for TFP … in the last financial year TFP saw a 40% growth in sales into this sector. The incorporation of PV3 will enable us to expand our product portfolio to offer catalyst powders for fuel cells as well as electrolyser components used to generate green hydrogen as a fuel source.

“This acquisition strengthens our position within the hydrogen economy, expands our product offering and knowledge base, and creates opportunities for further growth.”

Dr David Hodgson, PV3 Technologies chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be joining the James Cropper group, which shares our passion for sustainability and the development of technologies for the hydrogen economy.

“PV3 has optimised its know-how in platinum group metal coatings to grow significantly over the last nine years. The combination of TFP and PV3 will leverage technology from both companies, particularly around metal coating.

“PV3 Technologies will make full use of TFP’s global sales and marketing organisation and a willingness to add capacity at scale to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.”