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Author: rusty

Author: rusty


Howard Mead Appointed VP and GM for Luxfer Composi

RIVERSIDE, California, USA – Luxfer Gas Cylinders announced today that Howard Mead has been appointed to the new position of Vice President & General Manager for Luxfer Composite.

Howard, who assumes his new role on May 9th, will be responsible for the overall success of all aspects of the Luxfer Composite business in North America, covering the facilities in Riverside and Pomona, California and the facility in Calgary, Canada.  He will ensure the local execution of the Luxfer Gas Cylinders Strategy, with a special focus on delivering growth and providing world class service.  His other primary goals include driving lean operations, ensuring the continued development of people, strengthening customer relationships, and further improving environmental sustainability.

“I am excited to have someone of Howard’s capability and experience to take the lead of our composite business in North America,“ said Andy Butcher, CEO Designate of Luxfer Group.  “Howard has worked directly with me since 2019 and I am delighted he will continue to do so in his new role.”   

Howard joined Luxfer in 2011, starting out at Luxfer Group Head Office in Manchester, UK, before moving into a business improvement role in Nottingham.  He has been a key part of the North American Leadership team for nearly three years, while also overseeing the overall global finance and IT activities.  He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and holds both a BSc degree from the University of Manchester and an MBA from the Open University Business School. 

“There has never been a more exciting time for Luxfer in the composite cylinder industry,” Howard said. “I’m particularly inspired by the commitment to the customer within the company and I am eager to leverage Luxfer’s track record of innovation into an industry-leading portfolio of high-performance products.”


World Hydrogen Awards 2022

‘Extraordinary’ alternative fuel expertise at Luxfer Gas Cylinders honoured in shortlisting 

A raft of innovative projects that harness the power of hydrogen fuel for transport have secured Luxfer Gas Cylinders a finalist slot at the prestigious World Hydrogen 2022 Awards, organised by the Sustainable Energy Council (SEC).

The international manufacturer, which has an alternative fuel facility based in Nottingham, is one of just a handful of leading firms lauded in the Industrial Application award category.

Taking place on the first day of the World Hydrogen Summit 2022 in Rotterdam (9-11 May 2022), the awards celebrate the ‘exceptional achievement of companies who are driving the hydrogen industry forward’.

Members of the company’s Nottingham team will journey to Holland to vie for the title of Best Industrial Application against other world-leading firms who, like Luxfer, are making an important contribution in helping to decarbonise one of the most polluting sectors of the global economy.

Luxfer secured a shortlist spot following success in delivering a number of world-first and industry-leading projects, providing bespoke solutions for hydrogen powered buses, boats, trucks and trains. The company was a key partner to deliver the UK’s first hydrogen train, the HydroFLEX, and also delivered the hydrogen systems in fleets of double decker buses operating in London, Aberdeen and other UK cities. 

Mark Lawday, Vice President and General Manager for Luxfer Europe, explains: “For a very long time we’ve been committed to a proactive innovation strategy targeting the alternative fuel market, because we understand the growing importance of clean fuels, energy and sustainability. 

“Our pioneering work in this space pre-dated the government’s pledge that greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to net zero by 2050 – in fact Luxfer’s engineering teams have been working hard to lead and improve performance, pushing the boundaries for technological capabilities around hydrogen solutions for decades. That work is now starting to come to fruition, and we’re thrilled to have our efforts recognised on a global stage. 

“The exciting thing is that there’s much more to come as governments, investors and businesses work together to boost the hydrogen ecosystem. Innovation is at the heart of what Luxfer has to offer, and we’re looking forward to playing our part in helping towards a cleaner, greener world.”

Luxfer will also be exhibiting at the three-day event too, sharing its credentials in hydrogen storage systems with an anticipated 3,000-plus guests. 

Attendees include Greg Hands, UK Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, who will give a keynote address at the Summit.

Visit Luxfer at the World Hydrogen Summit 2022 from 9-10 May at stand D7 at the Rotterdam Ahoy Arena.

About Luxfer Gas Cylinders

Luxfer Gas Cylinders ( is a leading manufacturer of high-pressure composite and aluminium cylinders. More than 70 million Luxfer cylinders in service around the world have an exemplary record for dependability and safety in a variety of applications, including firefighter and first-responder life support, medical, fire extinguishers, alternative fuel, specialty gas, beverage, aerospace, inflation, SCUBA and performance racing. An operating company of Luxfer Holdings PLC (NYSE:LXFR), Luxfer Gas Cylinders is based in Riverside, California, and has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., England, Canada, and China. For more information on Luxfer Gas Cylinders visit:

Issued on behalf of Luxfer Cylinders by The Tonic Communications. For more information contact or call 0115 8248254.


Giving you more fizz – why choose Luxfer?

The beverage market has been hit by rising at-home consumption trends, impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and the widespread shutdown of the hospitality sector across the UK. 

Indeed, a February 2022 study of over 300,000 adults found that shop-bought alcohol consumption increased following the March 2020 lockdown and remained persistently higher than previous years throughout the rest of 2020, even when restrictions were lifted.  

While the future is unpredictable, beverage brands could benefit from understanding how crucial cylinder technology is when it comes to remaining competitive in this crowded marketplace. 

How gas is stored for the dispense of beverages such as soft drinks, lagers, ciders, stouts and bitters, isn’t just about safeguarding the fizz and the propulsion from the keg, it has a significant impact on taste and mouth-feel too, impacting customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

The role of gas cylinders in drinks dispensing

The role of cylinders is to safely contain the gas in a sterile environment.

While CO2 is primarily used for soft drinks and lagers, various gas mixtures are involved in the dispense of ciders, stouts and bitters. Maintaining these - classified ‘food gases’ - at the correct pressure, preserves the stability in the keg.

A range of factors are at play when it comes to choosing cylinders for this purpose:


The cylinder itself is a vital part of the gas dispensing system, meaning a high-quality cylinder with good resistance to fracture or cracking is paramount. As licensees and retailers grapple with rising costs,, poor cylinder quality poses a personal safety risk, and could potentially lead to writing off a large volume of stock.

Thanks to Luxfer’s metallurgic innovation, its beverage cylinder range is manufactured using a high-performance L6X® alloy. This proprietary formula has been specially optimised to deliver superior durability, fracture toughness and resistance to tearing and cracking. 

Resistance to corrosion

Corrosion within the interior walls of a cylinder can occur with a poor quality product. This could affect the quality and taste of the drink and may also cause damage to the valves. 

Currently more than 40 million L6X cylinders are in service around the world, demonstrating Luxfer’s exemplary record for safety and dependability. 

Cylinder size and weight

The size and weight of a cylinder is key to safe handling, given that kegs are changed frequently by staff at pubs, restaurants, clubs, events and other food and beverage establishments. 

Thanks to using an aluminium alloy, Luxfer’s cylinders for CO2 systems are among the most lightweight available, ranging from just 2kg to 25.5kg.

While the environment in which the cylinders dwell will differ by location, space is often at a premium in food and beverage outlets. Therefore, Luxfer offers a variety of cylinder sizes too, starting from 266mm in length, to 1,170mm.

Low maintenance 

Beverage cylinders are routinely kept out of sight, beneath counters, in storage units and cellars. This means a low maintenance external finish is favourable because it limits the requirement to clean, re-paint or invest further attention by the staff, venue, brewery or retailer. Once installed, the cylinder performs with minimal add-on time or cost.

External finishes available from Luxfer to deliver this low maintenance product includes painting (wet paint and powder coating), mill finish (as-is after production), and brushed (where the exterior surface is brushed to make it smooth and remove any blemishes).


Selecting a trusted supplier is important, with the BCGA raising awareness of outlets being targeted by non-reputable companies.

With 125 years of experience in gas containment, Luxfer has a proven track record providing solutions for this market. In fact, beverage CO2 cylinders were the first type of cylinders made by Luxfer in the UK in the 1950s – and the company was the very first to manufacture cold-extruded aluminium CO2 beverage cylinders.

Millions of beverage cylinders are in operation around the globe, with the US the largest customer base for Luxfer.

Safety testing

Adequate testing is fundamental to all cylinders and Luxfer is proud of its unrivalled safety record, which ensures quality and durability of its entire range and helps cement its enviable reputation. 

This is manifested through stringent quality control checks. A hydrostatic test, where water is put into the cylinder at increasing pressure, is one of our mandatory testing procedures to ensure the product meets the required tolerances.

Luxfer also offers an active, global ‘Safety First’ programme to help its beverage customers use, maintain, and inspect high-pressure cylinders properly. This gives guidance on how best to handle and store CO2 cylinders, reinsert a valve and clean them. It not only promotes safety, it helps lower liability exposure.

And while CO2 cylinders currently occupy just five per cent of the company’s worldwide business, a controlled manufacturing process focusing on every operational detail - which Luxfer has perfected over many years and across many applications - produces a high-performance cylinder that is fit for purpose.

For more details on Luxfer’s beverage solutions, visit 


The hydrogen revolution – a personal perspective o

Written by: Lewis Anderson, Alternative Fuel Systems General Manager, Luxfer Gas Cylinders Europe

In 2015 Lewis Anderson joined Luxfer Gas Cylinders as a member of the purchasing team, unaware of how hydrogen and the demand for alternative fuels would transform his career. Here, Lewis charts his journey with Luxfer, providing a personal insight into how the industry is evolving.

Establishing our alternative fuels capability  

Luxfer was already a global supplier to the compressed natural gas market and although the commercial opportunities in hydrogen were small, it had been an area of interest for many years.

From the late 1990s Luxfer was an innovator in hydrogen tank and valve technology, building on its heritage of being a world leader in lightweight cylinders, producing high-pressure aluminum gas cylinders since the 1930s and carbon composite cylinders since eighties.

When I joined the company, I focused on helping establish a new alternative fuel systems capability at our Nottingham manufacturing site. This would allow us to focus on hydrogen fuel system research and development and meant that we would have the infrastructure and skills in place to partner and supply customers, who like us, were early innovators. The objective was that once the e potential of hydrogen was more visible, we had the ability to meet demand. 

A shift in hydrogen investment and understandingBy 2016 we were working on a small number of hydrogen projects – partnering with coach and bus manufacturer Van Hool to deliver hydrogen systems for two buses in London and five in Europe. Activity was very embryonic, and prototype-led - there remained uncertainty in the market about whether hydrogen was a viable and sustainable alternative – especially compared to diesel and electric solutions. My role shifted to reflect our evolving hydrogen systems offering, to Bus Systems Business Manager and just a year later our foresight began paying off. Hydrogen was gathering prominence and we received an increasing number of enquiries for Luxfer to take on pioneering projects. International brands like Hyundai wanted to collaborate and our valuable sector-specific experience made Luxfer an essential ‘go-to’ partner. This phase was more than ‘just prototyping’ – there was a marked shift in investment, orders and understanding. It was accepted that there was a need for zero emissions fuels and governments were setting targets that they needed to deliver on. 

World-first collaborations

Looking back, I’m incredibly proud to have been part of the team involved with several world firsts. These are projects that are really making positive change to the world we live in, and we have only scratched the surface of hydrogen’s potential. 

Luxfer’s milestones include the world’s first commercially produced hydrogen trucks. A multi-million-pound project integrating hydrogen technology into more than 50 trucks was delivered in 2020 in partnership with Hyundai, making it the first such green fleet in history. 

Hydrogen powers the 19-tonne vehicles, which is efficiently stored in seven Luxfer G-Stor™ H2 hydrogen cylinders, supplied in a state-of-the-art hydrogen system which holds 35kg of hydrogen.  Each truck features a 190-kilowatt fuel cell.  This storage and drive train combination provides a range of more than 400km before refuelling, which far surpasses the capabilities of battery electric truck technology. 

The UK’s first hydrogen-powered train. Unveiled in June 2019, the HydroFLEX project comprises a former Thameslink electric train retrofitted to run using a hydrogen fuel system. Luxfer’s alternative fuel experts worked in close collaboration with Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research, which won Department for Transport funding to support the concept. The four-cylinder hydrogen solution was developed and assembled at Luxfer’s UK alternative fuel facility, and in September 2020, the train hit the mainline for the first time.

Offering ‘instant infrastructure’

The hydrogen industry accelerated from 2018, thanks to funding and investments pledged by governments and corporations to make green fuels more accessible.  This continues to encourage OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to launch hydrogen powered platforms. 

However, although for some time hydrogen has been identified as among the cleanest fuels available, the challenge is to deploy and scale up the required infrastructure to support the refuelling of these vehicles. And so another innovation, based upon the company’s legacy in bulk gas transport, is making ‘instant infrastructure’ a reality.

Last year, we announced an important partnership between Octopus Hydrogen and Luxfer to make heavy goods transportation and the aviation industries cleaner and greener.

Founded upon the expertise and track record of our alternative fuel teams in Australia and North America, who have developed and supplied bulk gas transport solutions, we have designed Multiple Element Gas Containers (MEGC). These 40ft long units can transport over 1 tonne of hydrogen from the point of production to the point of use. 

Nurturing the hydrogen talent of tomorrow

As hydrogen promises to be a critical fuel to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality, I’m proud of the role I am playing, and I believe we have only scratched the surface of hydrogen’s potential. 

I was appointed Alternative Fuel Systems General Manager in 2020, with responsibility to nurture and develop our alternative fuel team. This involves:

  • bringing in staff at all levels, including several apprentices every year
  • equipping the team with the skills and understanding to thrive in an industry that is still very new and progressive
  • continuing to bring innovative products, solutions and service to our customers.

Looking ahead, we have a sustained and shared focus on collaborating with partners and the local community, alongside supporting our growing 


Case Study – Luxfer expertise enlisted to help sav

Norwegian maritime company Antisink has turned to Luxfer for its industry-leading lightweight and durable gas cylinders, to deliver a revolutionary technology that will help prevent shipwrecks and save lives at sea. 

Growing up near an open stretch of sea in southern Norway, Antisink’s CEO Geir Karlsen was witness to the heartache of what he saw as too many boats going down and too many people lost at sea for no reason. In the 1990s, he began to interrogate a solution.  

“When a boat’s sinking under you, and you only have the nose above water, you’re not going to see its passengers in choppy waters,” Geir says. “I knew some of these people who were lost at sea. Men, women and children dying – all because they couldn’t be found before it was too late.” 

“All of those people could probably still be alive had their boats managed to stay above the water. If a boat is still floating we can easily find it, and its passengers.  So, I started to think, what if we could devise a way to keep the boats and the people afloat?”  

Fast forward 30 years to January 2017 and Antisink was founded with one goal in mind: to save lives. And with a market of 25 million leisure boats worldwide and around 2.5 million fishing vessels, the potential of risk to life was – and continues to be – vast.  

Based in the Norwegian coastal city of Kristiansand, Antisink has since revolutionised boat safety with its life-saving system – a self-inflating buoyancy bag designed to protect the vessel and its passengers at sea. Securely fastened within the boat’s hull, the system will keep a boat afloat for weeks, significantly reducing the chances of hypothermia-induced injuries, saving lives and helping reduce environmental damage.  

Geir explains: “if the boat goes down, you will likely freeze to death. But if you can stay in the boat, you can keep warm and survive for hours, or even call for help instead of being stuck down in the water.

“So, we designed a system that can be installed within the boat itself completely stopping it from sinking. It comprised three main components: the buoyancy bags to provide lift, big foam canisters and hoses to join them together.” 

A challenge for the developers was to deliver a high level of buoyancy, so they began researching alternatives to foam canisters. 

Antisink’s Bjøro Karlsen, who helped design the product, adds: “We needed a smaller installation system but greater levels of buoyancy.  CO2 is used in life rafts, so we started looking at CO2 cylinders to provide the necessary air and contacted several aluminium cylinder manufacturers. That’s when we found Luxfer. We made contact in early 2021 and since then, we’ve designed a robust system incorporating Luxfer’s high quality cylinders, which can keep a boat afloat for weeks, with little maintenance required.”

With Luxfer’s L6X Type 1 inflation cylinders in place, the Antisink system is activated automatically once it senses excessive flooding, filling the buoyancy bags in under a minute and providing enough lift to keep the boat above sea level.  

By being installed inside the vessel, the system displaces water from the boat’s internal compartments, keeping passengers safe for as long as necessary for help to arrive. All cylinders are tested for leaks once filled with CO2, with safety paramount.  

“If we didn’t have Luxfer, our system wouldn’t work,” Bjøro adds. “We need the quality, we need for the cylinders not to corrode, and we need to be able to reuse them. Luxfer plays a vital role – and we’re very happy that they’ve created a blue cylinder for us to use: the Antisink blue. 

“It was also critical to have a product that can be used all over the world and we found that Luxfer’s products are approved for all markets, and can be transported with the pressure on - these were major selling points for us.” 

Geir adds he has always been impressed by the service provided by Luxfer and values the relationship he and his team have with the company – a harmonious relationship strengthened by their shared consideration for sustainability.  

“Both Antisink and Luxfer produce high quality and sustainable products. Our systems are green. Aluminium cylinders are easier to recycle and they can be reused; they can be refilled and there’s no waste.  

“Plus, our systems are affordable and accessible, while being easy for the owner to install themselves (as the system is pre-assembled). There are no other products out there like ours; a system that is activated automatically and can be installed inside the boat with no need to cut any holes. Thanks to the compact size, they can be hidden under the floor or in cupboards, and can be fitted in many kinds of vessels, from a small fishing boat or leisure cruiser to a £10million superyacht. 

“You can usually fix the boat too, which makes the insurance companies looking after those £10million boats very happy. 

“And there are so many environmental benefits to keeping boats afloat. Shipwrecks are one of the biggest sources of marine pollution so if we can avoid that, we’re reducing impact. 

“Our goal was always to save lives. These other elements are just a bonus.”  

With access to the variety in size of Luxfer’s cylinders, and the team’s support, Antisink is now gearing up to extend its business with more new products in development.  

“Our rescue kit is being trialled by the Royal Norwegian Navy,” Geir says. “We’re hoping they will see its value and roll it out across all coastguards in Norway. And if we’re approved by the Navy, our systems will receive automatic approval from NATO. If we grow into this market, we’ll need Luxfer’s help to create a system with a cylinder which fits into a small case for coastguards to transport easily. 

“With Luxfer’s help we’re hoping we’ll soon be able to create a system with bigger cylinders which is suitable for larger boats. There’s potential to protect so many lives but it’s not just that. A 50ft boat is 25 tonnes of plastic on the sea bottom if it goes down. We can prevent this. 

“In Norway alone, there are thousands of boats at the bottom of the sea. We’re thinking about the sea and the environment all the time, so we’re now also in the process of developing a new product to start rescuing those ships and alleviate some of the marine pollution.” As legislation tightens, and rules around the requirement for buoyancy equipment increases in the interests of protecting the environment, Geir is hoping more boat owners and insurance companies see the benefit in Antisink’s products. He adds: “Floating tanks are expensive to build in and take up storage. If we can get Antisink approved as an alternative, there’s no need to rebuild any of these boats. Our systems can be installed with ease and for low cost and with that, we hope the demand for our products – and Luxfer cylinders – will grow.” 

Sally Jollands, Inside Sales Manager at Luxfer Gas Cylinders Europe adds: “Antisink has a very interesting and innovative use for our cylinders, and at Luxfer we’re excited to see where this will take them; going from a start-up company to supplying their system to countries across the world on a wide range of boats. The environmental benefits of the product are clear, and align well with Luxfer’s own goals, to help create a safe and sustainable world using our life-protecting gas containment technology. We look forward to supporting Antisink in achieving their overall mission.” 

View a video of the latest Antisink technology using Luxfer cylinders here:  

For more information or to enquire about our CO2 Inflation Cylinders Contact Us


Luxfer Announces CEO Transition

MILWAUKEE, WI -- March 23, 2022 -- Luxfer Holdings PLC [NYSE: LXFR] (“Luxfer” or the “Company”), a global industrial company innovating niche applications in materials engineering, today announced that Andrew “Andy” Butcher has been named as Chief Executive Officer and a member of Luxfer’s Board of Directors, effective May 6, 2022. The Company also reaffirmed its prior financial guidance for the year. Alok Maskara, who has served as CEO and Executive Director since May 2017, has elected to leave the Company in pursuit of another opportunity.

“We are grateful for Alok’s five years of dedication to Luxfer. During his time, he successfully transformed the Company, positioning it for future growth with a focused strategy and a bolstered balance sheet. On behalf of the entire organization, we thank Alok for his meaningful contributions and wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” said Patrick Mullen, Luxfer Board Chair.

Mullen continued, “With unanimous approval from the Board of Directors and consistent with the Company’s succession plan, we are delighted to promote Andy to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Andy is a strategic, growth-oriented leader, bringing over 30 years of experience with Luxfer. We are confident that under Andy’s leadership Luxfer will continue building on the transformation plan to deliver growth and shareholder value.”

“It has been an honor to be a part of Luxfer’s high-performing team, and I want to thank our Board and all our employees around the world for the opportunity to lead this great organization,” said Alok Maskara. “Consistent with our established succession plans, I look forward to working with Andy to ensure a smooth transition.”

Andy Butcher has served as the President of Luxfer Gas Cylinders, Luxfer’s largest business unit, since 2014. Mr. Butcher joined Luxfer in 1991 and has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his career with the Company. In 2002, he led the development of Luxfer’s composite gas cylinder business, first as General Manager and then as Executive Vice President. Mr. Butcher holds an M.A. degree in Engineering from Cambridge University and an M.B.A from Keele University, both located in England.

“I am excited to accept the position of CEO and look forward to leading our dedicated worldwide team to deliver long-term growth and profitability for Luxfer,” said Andy Butcher. “Luxfer has proven its resilience through pandemic-related challenges and ended 2021 with a strong balance sheet and significant opportunities in front of us. I am confident in our ability to deliver value to our customers, employees, and shareholders as we execute our strategic growth initiatives.”

About Luxfer Holdings PLC

Luxfer is a global industrial company innovating niche applications in materials engineering. Using its broad array of proprietary technologies, Luxfer focuses on value creation, customer satisfaction, and demanding applications where technical know-how and manufacturing expertise combine to deliver a superior product. Luxfer’s high-performance materials, components, and high-pressure gas containment devices are used in defense and emergency response, healthcare, transportation, and general industrial applications. For more information, please visit

Luxfer is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and its ordinary shares are traded under the symbol LXFR.

Contact Information

Michael Gaiden

Vice President of Investor Relations

+1 (414) 982-1663


Hydrogen-electric minibus – powered by Luxfer

Milestone move towards net zero, with vehicle featuring fuel efficient, lightweight system designed by Nottingham-based experts...

UK, 18 March 2022: The launch of a hydrogen-electric minibus in Slovakia marks an important milestone in delivering zero-emissions solutions for urban transit across Europe – as the most fuel efficient and quickest to refuel vehicle of its kind in the world.

Produced by Slovakian innovators Mobility & Innovation, the eight-metre, 68-passenger H2Bus features a complete alternative fuel system designed and supplied by Luxfer Gas Cylinders. 

The system contains four of the company’s G-Stor® H2 cylinders alongside valves and regulators, provided in a ‘ready to assemble’ kit. 

Thanks to Luxfer’s unique liner-processing technology, its cylinders are among the highest-capacity, fastest to refill and lightest Type 3 alternative fuel cylinders in the world, making them ideal for transit buses, light, medium and heavy-duty trucks, refuse vehicles and bulk gas transportation modules. 

The system was developed by experts at Luxfer Gas Cylinders’ Alternative Fuel systems site in Nottingham, working alongside worldwide partners to deliver the project in just nine months - around three times quicker than standard clean bus builds.

Requiring just 10.5 kilograms of hydrogen to achieve more than 400 kilometres of range, the H2Bus contains a hydrogen fuel cell system and electric motor. To maintain optimum fuel efficiency, the weight of all components was minimised, and it was designed to deliver the fastest re-fueling of any equivalent bus on the market.

The minibus will now journey across Slovakia, Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, proving the viability of the technology, with the goal of securing commercial orders. 

Luxfer’s European Business Development Manager, Jim Gregory, joined the Bratislava launch. Addressing the 50-plus attendees, which included the Minister for the Economy, industry and media, he said: “This project was designed, built, tested and homologated in much less than one year, in collaboration with a dynamic team of engineers and suppliers from seven different European countries - all despite the huge limitations that COVID caused on travel and logistics.

“We’re extremely proud to see the H2Bus come to fruition – this is significant in helping many more bus operators and governments become another step closer to achieving their zero emissions targets.” 

Janos Onodi, Director, Mobility & Innovation, added: “Working with Luxfer was vital to the success of the project. Their experience in designing hydrogen vehicles gave us the security of knowing we were getting a state of the art and safe design. When pressure came on the timing program their young and dynamic engineering team always stepped up to ensure things were ready on time.”

Luxfer has impressive expertise in the alternative fuel sector, being a key partner in the design and delivery of a raft of industry-first transport projects, including the world’s first commercially produced hydrogen trucks, the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train and the world’s first hydrogen double decker buses, which are in operation across Aberdeen, London and Northern Ireland. 

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of lightweight high pressure cylinders, Luxfer Gas Cylinders is a trusted partner to deliver bespoke alternative fuel solutions, and is a member of the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) and the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (UKHFCA).


Issued on behalf of Luxfer Cylinders by The Tonic Communications. For more information contact or call 0115 8248254.


Mark Lawday named VP and GM Luxfer Europe

RIVERSIDE, California, USA – Luxfer Gas Cylinders has announced the appointment of Mark Lawday as Vice President & General Manager of Luxfer Europe with responsibility for leading European operations for Luxfer Gas Cylinders Division of Luxfer Holdings plc.With a background in mechanical design and manufacturing, Mark is a graduate member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining with a special interest in metallurgy and the processing of high-strength aluminium alloys.Vice President & General Manager of Luxfer Europe Tony Edwards has decided to transition into a well-deserved retirement.“I am delighted to announce that replacing Tony will be Mark Lawday,” said Andy Butcher, President of Luxfer Gas Cylinders. “Mark joined Luxfer 17 years ago and has progressed through a range of increasingly senior business development and sales roles in Europe and North America. Since joining the European Leadership Team in March 2017, Mark has led a step change in commercial execution which has played a pivotal role in helping improve the overall performance of the business and created a platform for further growth.”In his new role, Mark will be responsible for the overall success of the European business and for the local execution of the Luxfer Gas Cylinders Global Strategy. He will continue to be a champion for growth in high pressure cylinders and alternative fuel systems, introducing innovative new products for our customers and end users, and fulfilling our Customer Charter. His other primary areas of focus will include the pursuit of operational excellence in all areas, occupational safety and the continued engagement and development of our people, and our programs to deliver environmental sustainability and to participate in our community.


International Women’s Day 2022 – Creating an Equal

This International Women’s Day we explore what it means to be a female employee at Luxfer Gas Cylinders and what equality and diversity advances the company is making across its global sales and manufacturing sites.

Although the engineering and manufacturing sectors in which Luxfer operates are traditionally male dominated, we’re proud to champion equality and diversity.

Over the past three years we’re pleased to have increased our female workforce at our Luxfer Gas Cylinders Nottingham site by around 45%. Alongside this we’ve forged strong partnerships, with initiatives to improve our knowledge on how to embed equality, and we’ve led innovative internal programmes that support the future success of the company, while enriching our customer relationships.

We’ve also considered what it really means to be happy and content at work. This means understanding the challenges faced by all of our staff – particularly in light of COVID-19 - and why working for a company that has strong social values and ethics is so important.

Stop, collaborate and listen

At Luxfer, we take every opportunity to stop and take stock of our efforts, encourage collaborative practices and then learn from the feedback of our people and customers.

One recent example evidenced how we have nurtured a culture where knowledge, information and learning can be shared – regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or background.

A cross-functional and multi-gender taskforce of six experienced Luxfer employees were identified as change champions to lead a priority business project. Taking place over 10 months, the project was aligned with enrichyou’s Sustainable Business Leadership Development service, which empowers management teams to run long-term sustainable businesses.

The aim was to create functional change and provide a pathway to deliver against the company’s Customer Charter. The team surpassed its objective, crucially, whilst revealing a genuine care for the business and each another. Working together they exhibited empathy and support for colleagues throughout, demonstrating a shared commitment to the project in the face of lifestyle factors such as sickness, absence and childcare requirements. 

Another example is a UK partnership between Luxfer and WISE, an independent community interest company that aims to achieve gender equality in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Together, we are supporting diversity and inclusion through training modules, for instance, demonstrating how we want to retain and develop female team members, sponsoring female talent and increasing transparency of equal opportunities for progression. 

Benefits that make a real difference

Our values – customer-first, integrity, innovation, accountability, personal development and teamwork - are more than just corporate terminology, they are fundamental to how we operate. And we know how vital these are for our workforce, with lack of team integration and inconsistent training and development opportunities cited as some of the reasons why women leave a role.

Other factors include burnout, working for a company that doesn’t share their values, inflexibility and work/life imbalance, plus poor communication between staff and managers. 

We rigorously tackle these issues head on. In fact, amid a reported exodus of employees looking for new roles during the ‘Great Resignation’, our staff retention rates have remained consistently at 90%+ for the last two years. 

We believe it is imperative to invest in our employees and encourage personal and professional development. Over the last few years, we have significantly increased resources and time allocated to employee training, recruitment, personal development, and retention. 

We’re also committed to supporting our employees’ individual health, because we know that by doing so we can build a stronger and happier workforce.

In 2020 we launched a wellbeing strategy to support the physical, mental and financial health of employees, which included introducing mental health first aiders on site and an employee assistance program. In addition, the Luxfer Group’s family friendly policy allows for extended maternity leave and up to six months full pay. 

In the US, we implemented a smoking cessation programme. Sponsored by Mayo Clinic, it allows employees to receive counselling and support online and apply for free nicotine patches and gum to aid with their transition. Those who successfully complete a 90-day smoking cessation programme are rewarded with discounted insurance rates. 

Meanwhile in Nottingham, our recently unveiled Employee Healthy Lifestyle programme encourages staff to take steps towards improving their health. It offers reimbursements for gym and fitness centre memberships, plus we host on site physiotherapy sessions, and provide access to Perkbox benefits. Events include ‘Know Your Numbers’ sessions, to raise awareness of the importance of regularly monitoring blood pressure, and the health risks associated with high blood pressure.

Leading by example

With a legacy spanning 125 years, we’re privileged to always drive forward agendas that affect positive change and which our employees are proud to work on. 

Our hydrogen systems, for example, are being used across the world, helping countries in the journey toward net zero emissions targets. Luxfer’s cylinders are being fitted within buses, trains, boats, trucks and tractors, providing a cleaner and greener alternative to diesel fuel. 

Furthermore, over 15 million of our medical cylinders are in use worldwide, transforming healthcare across the globe to improve quality of life for people requiring ambulatory oxygen, thanks to our aluminium and composite cylinder being 30% lighter than alternatives on the market.  

As a business we’re committed to significantly reducing our carbon footprint too, and we’re well on the way to meeting our 2025 targets of reducing waste to landfill by 20%, increasing recycled packaging by 15% and increasing material efficiency by 10%. Read our Environmental, Social and Governance report here.

We know that Luxfer leading initiatives that positively impact our world helps to inspire and retain our diverse workforce.

What our team had to say…

We asked some of our female team members about the barriers they’ve faced in their careers, what their best piece of career advice is, and whether they think their role is well-suited to people of either sex.

Grace, Project Engineer:

“The advice I’d give to anyone looking to develop a career in engineering is to find a company who produce work you can be proud of, find a team you enjoy working in and that encourages you to challenge yourself. Keep aiming to develop your technical knowledge. Also, make use of all the experience around you. Learn the names of, and speak to people, at all levels in the business. In a company like Luxfer where some have been employed for over 30 years, there is a huge wealth of knowledge. Be willing to go out of your way to learn from them.

“I think engineering is well suited to anyone who is creative, or likes problem solving, people who are interested in innovation and discovery. There is huge variety in opportunities and different job roles.” 

Melanie, Alternative Fuel Operations Coordinator:

“I’ve recently qualified as a mental health first aider and I’m now part of a team of 19 mental health first aiders on our site. This team has almost a 50/50 split of males and females, which is great. It is brilliant a diverse group was formed, which hopefully allows everyone to feel comfortable to talk to at least one of us in time of need. 

“I’m a great believer that careers are not gendered. My career is versatile and fulfilling, and it fits my traits and therefore makes it enjoyable to me. I work with customers, transport companies and liaise with colleagues internally to organise various processes, from order entry to production all the way to shipping the goods. I enjoy being in the middle of it all and the best part is seeing a positive end result that makes everyone happy.”

Emily, Sales Operations Analyst:

“Luxfer is the first step in my career, and I can honestly say I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming team.

“I’d say to anyone looking for a career in manufacturing, go for it! You may find that you are in the minority, being a female in a manufacturing business, but I see that as a chance to stand out amongst the crowd and make an impact.”

Emily, Alternative Fuels Purchasing Manager:

“I think sometimes people can underestimate me because I am a young woman and I’ve found I’ve had to prove I belong, when males within this role haven’t faced the same pressure. I’m used to being the only woman in the room sometimes and so I have to be confident and speak up, so they hear my opinion.

“I think purchasing is well suited to both sexes. It involves being able to communicate well, have good attention to detail and shopping!”

Leanne, Inside Sales Manager:

“As a woman working in the STEM industry, we can face barriers on a regular basis. However, these barriers have been extinguished by having regular communication with colleagues, understanding internal processes, and having a mutual agreement on business needs. It certainly feels more challenging at times, as a woman in this industry, but hard work and persistence truly pays off.

Sales most certainly can be for both sexes, having more women visible in a sales role for this industry will adjust the ‘standard/expectation’ that it is a role for men.”

To find out more about the diverse career opportunities available at Luxfer Gas Cylinders, visit our careers pages at: 


Hydrogen Conversion Revolution

Despite the huge leaps in commitment for hydrogen as a route to decarbonise transport, hurdles to adoption of the technology remain. 

Here, Jim Gregory, Business Development Director at Luxfer Gas Cylinders, examines the challenges to scale up an entire industry, incrementally, across many unconnected markets – and how conversion projects hold exciting potential.

A first step in hydrogen adoption 

Putting hydrogen vehicles on the road has been led by bus manufacturers, with less widespread availability of hydrogen-powered trucks, boats or trains from the big manufacturers, which can be purchased off the shelf. This means that in these early stages of hydrogen adoption, the first step for many is converting vehicles.

We’re seeing a huge demand for our expertise on conversion projects – a twenty-fold increase in around two years. In addition, the ratio of our design and engineering resource to conversions versus new build hydrogen systems is around 50/50, and we believe this is unlikely to reduce over the next few years.

Nurturing the conversion curve

Fundamental to the hydrogen economy is a gas distribution and supply network that can cope with gradually increasing demand, without being overwhelmed. Conversions support this process because small operators are working with trailblazing companies on projects that will come to fruition very soon - this year onwards.

A focus of growth is captive distribution and logistics fleets. This reflects the increased demand for home deliveries, as a result of the pandemic. The world has changed, and national distribution networks have had to make way for companies based regionally with vehicles that return to the same local depot each day. 

Through retrofitting, operators who feel that hydrogen will be important can convert a pilot fleet based upon ten or 12 vehicles a time, for example. They can then build their capacity annually, slowly, commissioning forward-thinking SMEs to do the work.

The benefits of this approach are:

  • Within a few years the operators that convert will know how to manage a hydrogen-powered fleet.
  • Operators will have developed the supply chain they need for the fuel.
  • This model will provide a steady ramp-up of production and distribution that doesn’t outstrip the capacity in any one part of the supply chain, offering a better solution for the industry in its entirety.
  • Waiting years for new vehicles to come to market will consume the time that remains before all petrol and diesel must go. This presents operators with a requirement to completely replace their fleets in a very short window, concurrently needing to learn how to operate them.
  • It avoids a huge investment from operators to replace thousands of vehicles all at once. 

In summary, projects to convert pockets of existing stock allows companies to build up their fleets, ensure their operations remain profitable, develop their knowledge and maximise the return on the capital that they already have tied up in existing higher emissions vehicles. 

Disruptive SMEs who are getting stuck into delivering conversions of around ten or 12 vehicles - working beside knowledgeable partners - will provide a favourable environment for the hydrogen economy to thrive.

The role of SMEs

A major driving force behind conversions are SMEs, because such projects allow forward-thinking enterprises to advance more quickly than larger OEMs.

SMEs naturally benefit from being more agile and it’s possible for them to convert battery electric or diesel engines to hydrogen relatively quickly, learning as they go and bringing a product to market faster.

An SME is unlikely to have the capital required to develop a hydrogen road vehicle from scratch, and therefore retrofitting is a viable option that gives the opportunity to get involved. They can make real headway and innovate through retrofitting.

This approach paves the way for the ‘Elon Musks of hydrogen’, to give big truck, bus and car makers a challenge. After all, it could take a major manufacturer three years to have a prototype hydrogen vehicle on the road. Luxfer is working with SMEs who can do this within just six months.

Extracting value from capital investment

Some companies need to look to retrofitting in order to root out value from vehicles that were built with a life expectancy that has been drastically reduced by targets to purge the transport network of diesel by 2040.

Trains and the marine industry among the most affected by this. The initial outlay for a new train is extremely high. New trains would be expected to operate for 25 years and then be re-certified for a further 15 years. Thousands of trains were purchased from 2015 onwards and these operators will find it hard to justify abandoning them for a hydrogen version. Those trains could have 30 years more service capability – and therefore converting rail stock to hydrogen is cost effective.

Similarly, marine vessels are high-cost and can operate for decades - making conversion to hydrogen power appealing.

The era for conversions 

We’re seeing demand rise exponentially across Europe and within all transport sectors, from boats, trains, planes, refuse trucks, mechanical handling, vans, refrigerated vans, light trucks, cars and more.

Although Europe and Asia are leading the way, other regions are joining, and we’re involved in many projects in Australia, New Zealand, and North and South America.

Investment is being made from private organisations as well as governments, highlighting that this is the era for conversions. This is particularly relevant for captive fleets such as the regional delivery networks, supermarket vans and even tug boats that operate around international ports. 

Projects are being turned around in as little as six months and this will be the year when the public will see hydrogen vehicles on UK roads – most likely beginning in Scotland with refuse trucks and utility vehicles. 

A cost-efficient solution

Some companies will be required to opt for conversion because they need to extract value from vehicles that were built with a life expectancy that has been slashed by targets to rid the transport network of diesel by 2040.

The impact of this is sector-specific, with trains and the marine industry among the most affected. The initial outlay is extremely high for a newly built train, which would be expected to operate for 25 years and then be re-certified for a further 15 years of service. Operators who procured a train in the last decade – and thousands were purchased from 2015 onwards – will find it hard to justify scrapping it for a hydrogen version. Those trains could have 30 years more good service in them – so converting rail stock to hydrogen becomes cost effective.

Likewise, marine vessels are high-cost units that can operate for decades - making conversion to hydrogen power most appealing.

A growing global appetite for hydrogen retrofits 

At Luxfer we’re seeing demand rise exponentially across Europe and within all transport sectors, from boats, trains, planes, refuse trucks, mechanical handling, vans, refrigerated vans, light trucks, cars – the list goes on. 

Although Europe and Asia are leading the charge in every direction, other regions are catching up. Luxfer is involved in many projects in Australia, New Zealand, and North and South America.

Investment is being secured from private organisations as well as governments, underpinning that this is the era for conversions. This is especially true when it comes to captive fleets such as the regional delivery networks, supermarket vans and even tug boats that operate around international ports. 

Collaborating on conversions and cross-fertilisation

It’s exciting to work with a range of companies who are thinking differently about the capability of hydrogen technology, and Luxfer has partnered on many successful conversion projects, including the UK’s first hydrogen train, HydroFLEX. 

The beauty is that every conversion project is different, and we offer a bespoke design and manufacture service, featuring our G-Stor™ H2 cylinders. 

Of course, converting existing vehicles means working within the constraints of a framework that needs to be adapted. Replacing systems based on a liquid fuel with ones that need to work on gaseous fuel has its inherent challenges. While liquid can be stored in any shape, the optimal shape for high pressure gas storage is still cylindrical.

Advantages of working with Luxfer on conversions includes:

  • We can help our partners through cross fertilization of ideas. A rail company may never collaborate with a shipbuilder, but our engineers have delivered retrofits for both and, those connections and cross pollination can spark interesting and practical concepts. 
  • We support with regulation, derived from our decades of expertise in high pressure gas containment. For example, where directives may not exist, we can explore what applies in parallel markets and consider transferable norms that will deliver against safety requirements. 
  • Our customers reap the benefits of working with a company that has tried and tested experience and understands every component needed to make the optimum recommendations specific to their project. We are supporting SMEs with the hunger to drive this market, and we can help them realise their ambitions. 

An important byproduct is that Luxfer benefits too. Putting our efforts into advancing the market for conversions drives innovation within our own business, helping to shaping our own technological developments. 

For further information on Luxfer’s alternative fuel expertise visit:


The Role of Bulk Gas Transportation to Enable the

COP26 brought together world leaders to commit to using clean fuels and address the role of hydrogen to help meet net zero targets. Here, Business Development Manager at Luxfer Gas Cylinders Keith Croysdale examines the challenges and opportunities of the hydrogen revolution, and crucially, what the future holds for bulk gas transportation.

The UN Climate Change Conference stimulated debate on securing net zero and keeping the 1.5 degrees warming target within reach, alongside mobilising finance and protecting communities and natural habitats. 

Yet while the summit led to some fresh targets, initiatives and agreements, barriers remain. Described in BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2021 report, oil takes the lion’s share of the energy mix at 31%, with coal the second largest at 27%.

Making hydrogen accessible 

With continued reliance on fossil fuels, making progress to wean nations to alternative sources is critical. The factors that will determine this include:

  • Infrastructure  - this will play a key role in the ultimate success of hydrogen take-up, but hydrogen pipelines will may take until the end of the decade to become a reality, and it’s possible that won’t ever reach every hydrogen user. 
  • Other solutions - for instance ammonia has been touted as a medium for carrying hydrogen over long distances, it is highly toxic and handling it presents risks. Masses of poisonous liquid being located in a UK port, such as Southampton, will be a challenging proposition.
  • Green hydrogen - there is an ambition to turn the UK into a green hydrogen-producing hub and in 2021 the Prime Minister set out a vision for the UK to be the ‘Qatar of hydrogen’. But to turn this into a reality, energy companies need to carry as much hydrogen as possible from the production site to the point of use, safely and cost-efficiently. 

Where no gas networks exist, bulk gas transportation cylinder systems help local governments, energy firms and gas distribution networks meet demand, and we believe bulk gas transportation modules are the only solution that is broadly viable.

How hydrogen is making waves 

Bulk gas transportation (BGT) isn’t only applied to lorries and trailers, and Luxfer is working in a range of industries to innovate at moving hydrogen to where it’s most needed. Around coastal cities, as an example, BGT ships can deliver hydrogen across the waterways, and smaller vessels can then transport the fuel via estuaries to depots and fillings stations.

This kind of marine solution means vast quantities of hydrogen can be moved into densely populated areas – without worsening congestion and adding to the pollution challenges on the in-demand UK road network. This issue is particularly important when it comes to getting hydrogen into major cities. 

There are key differences for hydrogen fuel over oil and gas, specifically:

The model for production and distribution will not be as centralised. Hydrogen is a departure from giant refineries transporting over hundreds of miles, huge pipelines from overseas, and a single interconnected gas network. 

Producing hydrogen will be localised, with hundreds of hubs in the near future spanning UK regions, towns or even factories. Hydrogen will, for the most part, be made less than 50 miles from where it will be used. The hydrogen ecosystem planned at Thames Estuary, for example, can deliver supply via the river into central London.

Ports, including Antwerp, which is the biggest port area in the world, have announced decarbonisation plans. Directly delivering hydrogen fuels via BGT ships will support them in meeting sustainability targets, and this is particularly desirable where the vessels themselves are powered by zero-emission systems.

Alternative fuel expertise at Luxfer is powering the world’s first hydrogen work boat, in partnership with Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), which is also based in Antwerp. And we’re working on the world’s first hydrogen tugboat for Antwerp Harbour.

These are just a handful of the hydrogen projects that will help decarbonise the sector, but it will be 2023/24 when people will begin to see this change.

Innovating in cylinder technology

Innovation is at the heart of Luxfer, and we have applied our trusted, proprietary technology to the bulk gas transport market in the form of our Type 3 cylinder.

This cylinder features a Luxfer-manufactured aluminium liner, fully over-wrapped with aerospace-grade carbon fibre. Because our Type 3 cylinder is heavier than a Type 4, this might seem counterintuitive to using a Type 4 cylinder with a polymer liner. However, the high thermal conductivity of our aluminium liner removes heat from the gas generated during the filling process. The heat produced in a fast-fill could damage a Type 4 polymer-lined cylinder. To circumvent this you’d need to chill the gas or slow down the filling time – and companies want a speedy turnaround. 

With Type 3 technology, all of the hydrogen involved in the system can be utilised, with no wastage, so they are the right solution because they are more robust, fill faster, won’t leak, and therefore they increase the asset value of the entire system. Plus, Luxfer’s G-Stor™ cylinders are among the highest-capacity, lightest-weight Type 3 alternative fuel cylinders in the world.

Ensuring unrivalled safety and quality

High pressure gas containment demands the utmost standards of safety and quality, and our proven track record is why Luxfer is leading the market. 

We have an 80-year history in cylinder technology, with our presence in the alternative fuels sector underpinned by considerable legacy in healthcare. We produce the smallest and most lightweight oxygen cylinders – over 70 million of which are in operation across the globe.

Our success in providing alternative fuel systems is not new, in fact this is our third major exploration of the hydrogen market. It means our latest designs are based on the work of Luxfer engineers from 15 years ago, updated to embed the very latest in cylinder technology. We’ve essentially been a sleeping giant for two decades, putting in the work behind the scenes and applying what we’ve learnt along the way, honing our capabilities so we’re ready.

The landscape is now hugely competitive. Some companies are new to hydrogen storage but it’s challenge because they are tasked with developing quickly the know-how Luxfer has evolved through 80 years.

A fast-growing market for hydrogen solutions

There is a real opportunity for the hydrogen revolution to gather momentum, which is exciting, and the demand we’re experiencing underpins this. We’re now at the point of bringing a viable solution to market, with a credible technology that is in its infancy, and will increase exponentially from next year. 

Although there is good momentum our lead time is due to a robust programme of testing and approval to meet the highest safety standards. Luxfer teams in Canada, America and England are collaborating as part of a significant team effort to design and produce our BGT systems. It’s true co-creation.

Naturally other companies want to get involved and we view this positively because it nurtures innovation and will further advance the hydrogen revolution.

For instance, we’re involved with a number of organisations that are pioneering the adaption of internal combustion engines to work on 100% hydrogen, which is a completely difference proposition for fleets around the world.  

The technology is evolving every day to create an environment that will allow a hydrogen economy to prosper. While we have made huge strides, Luxfer isn’t stopping. We have an ambition to push this technology, helping deploy hydrogen on a game changing scale - safely of course - and we have the right expertise to do it.


Hydrogen Boats

Ships are currently responsible for 3% of all greenhouse gases. This might not seem high, but this is projected to grow by up to 50% if the shipping industry continues on its course. Other transport industries such as automotion, public transport and rail have already made significant steps towards cutting their reliance on fossil fuels, so it only makes sense for maritime vehicles to follow suit.

Fortunately, there is a lot of opportunity for alternative fuels to flourish in this industry, hydrogen being one of the main contenders. In 2017, the world’s first self-sufficient hydrogen-powered boat was launched, and innovations in boat design have continued to develop.

What is a hydrogen powered boat?

A hydrogen powered boat uses hydrogen as a source of energy to drive an electric motor. The on-board hydrogen fuel system draws hydrogen from storage cylinders into fuel cells, where the hydrogen is converted into energy. This energy feeds into a battery pack which in turn powers the motor.

What are the benefits of using hydrogen as a fuel for ships?

There are several propulsion methods that can be used to power ships. Of course, the greenest, cleanest method is wind power, used by sail boats. However, this option is not viable for commercial shipping vehicles because of its slow speed and unreliable nature.

Hydrogen has a number of benefits over alternative fuel sources, including:

  • The only emission created by the vessel is water vapour - therefore zero carbon emissions are created by the vehicle
  • Hydrogen fuel systems can be combined with on-board wind and solar technology maximise sustainable energy sources
  • Research shows that hydrogen is more efficient than battery-only systems in a number of ways
What are the challenges of using hydrogen as a fuel for ships?

The biggest challenge to overcome when it comes to rolling out hydrogen fuel solutions across shipping worldwide is storage. Because ships are not able to refuel at sea, large quantities of hydrogen must be stored on board at controlled temperatures. This takes up a lot of space, which may limit the amount of cargo ships can carry.

The good news is that there are solutions...

Hydrogen production and storage

Currently, most of the world’s hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels. Obviously, this is not desirable for long-term global hydrogen usage. While hydrogen enables the vehicle itself to be zero-emission, the production chain still has a carbon footprint.

Fortunately, there are some alternatives.

The first is electrolysis. The crucial thing about this method of hydrogen production for shipping is that it can be done on-board, using wind and solar energy to create hydrogen on the go. This means that a ship equipped to produce its own hydrogen needs a much smaller space to house the hydrogen storage cylinders, and can ultimately become self-sufficient in terms of fuel.

Another option is to convert the hydrogen into ammonia for storage. Ammonia takes up much less volume than hydrogen, and does not require cryogenic storage. The ammonia can be converted back to hydrogen on-board. Ammonia is toxic to humans and sea life, so extra care must be taken if using this method.

In addition, maritime hydrogen infrastructure is growing. Many prototypes use on-board hydrogen production methods, but mobile hydrogen refuelling stations have also been in use. Waterside refuelling stations are an option for canal and river boats.

Commercial shipping

This is by far the biggest sector when it comes to maritime emissions, and therefore presents the greatest challenge to hydrogen conversion. Research has shown that hydrogen is nonetheless a viable fuel source for shipping.

The chance of success depends on several factors, from government regulations and funding to the technologies available. One report has found that the shipping sector could feasibly completely decarbonise by 2035 using a range of green technology solutions, including hydrogen.

Scalability is a problem for large shipping vessels, as the entire fuel system must be scaled up to produce enough power for large ships. This potentially cuts into storage space and produces additional logistical considerations. That said, a study by the ICCT has concluded that hydrogen fuel systems could be incorporated on-board cargo ships with minimal disruption to normal service if done efficiently.

Thus far, wide-scale prototyping aboard commercial shipping vehicles is in its infancy. But all players agree that conversion to green fuels is essential in order to meet global carbon emission goals.

Meanwhile, smaller ships are being used as test subjects for hydrogen fuel with a great deal of success.

Research vessels

The Energy Observer is the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell boat, launched in 2017 and carrying Luxfer hydrogen cylinders on board. It is essentially a floating laboratory, designed not only to use green fuels, but also to perform research into advancing ecological solutions across a range of applications.

The boat is equipped with state-of-the-art wind turbines and solar panels, which allow it to produce its own hydrogen fuel using electrolysis of salt water.

On board it has 200 square metres of solar panels, 1500kg of batteries, tanks for 63kg of hydrogen, electric motors, solid computer-controlled “ocean wing” sails, and a desalinator and hydrogen generator to refuel the hydrogen tanks.

The boat can be powered by wind, but when there is none, it draws on its hydrogen supply for power. This supplies the boat with motive power and cabin power for heat and electricity. When there’s wind, the solar panels recharge the batteries and make new hydrogen. It’s a highly efficient and completely sustainable design, paving the way for more vessels to adopt this technology.

Recreational boats

Yachting relies heavily on fossil fuels. A superyacht is one of the most carbon-intensive vehicles on the planet. Therefore, moving the luxury leisure yacht industry towards alternative fuels is key to meeting global carbon goals.

It’s recently been speculated that Bill Gates has purchased a hydrogen powered superyacht, and research in this field is showing that hydrogen is a viable option.

A number of manufacturers are working on designs that promise to make recreational yachting a much greener activity, including Yanmar. In collaboration with Toyota, they are embarking on the development of a hydrogen boat fuel cell. The design is based on the technology already at use in Toyota’s hydrogen car.

Meanwhile, Dutch design studio Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design has been working on a liquid hydrogen yacht prototype. Aqua is a 360 foot superyacht, and was presented at Monaco Yacht Show in 2019.

Industry specialists are predicting that these prototypes will pave the way for a widespread roll-out of hydrogen leisure craft, which could become a realistic commercial proposition within 3 to 5 years.

What part does Luxfer play?

Switching maritime vessels to alternative fuels is essential if we are to meet global zero-emission goals. Research suggests that complete decarbonisation of the industry could be achieved by 2035. Hydrogen is proving to be a major contender in this arena, although it does not come without its obstacles.

Research and technological innovation are already making inroads, and positioning hydrogen as the go-to fuel for commercial shipping, research and recreational craft. One of the major challenges is designing a way to safely and efficiently store hydrogen on boats without compromising storage space.

At Luxfer, we’re at the forefront of this movement, developing products designed to meet the challenges faced by maritime industries. From our G-Stor H2 carbon composite cylinders to complete hydrogen fuel storage systems, we’re leading the way in progessive product design - and we’re excited for what the future holds.