A new £4 million low carbon technology hub has launched at Manchester Metropolitan University.

SMEs working on carbon neutral hydrogen fuel technology will now have access to the state of the art equipment and technology as part of the new hub.

Part funded with £1.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund, the Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre (MFCIC) will support businesses in the development of low carbon fuel cells which may soon be powering everything from cars to homes.

The centre will be geared towards the production of fuel cell materials that use 3D printing and nanomaterials, while also plotting out the hydrogen and fuel cell infrastructure of the Manchester area.

Hydrogen fuel cells, which work by converting hydrogen into oxygen and water to create electricity, have been widely tipped as a sustainable way for the UK to meet its energy needs in the coming decades.

Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Dr David Lambrick, said: “This is truly a ground-breaking initiative to drive forward innovation in our SMEs, develop emission-free energy and firmly position Manchester as a worldwide centre of excellence in fuel cells.

“The big challenge for the 21st century is how we create a sustainable future while meeting demand for energy, which will only continue to rise in the coming years.

“Fuel cells are a fundamental part of the hydrogen economy and what we have at Manchester Metropolitan is the expertise in advanced materials, nanotechnology, smart grid technology and business development.”

Manchester is developing a strong reputation for low carbon technology with more than 2,000 companies currently providing low carbon environmental goods and services in Greater Manchester, employing almost 40,000 people.

This new facility is part of Manchester Metropolitan’s Greater Manchester Hydrogen Partnership (GMHP) which is bidding to cement the region’s growing reputation in the sector by collaborating with government, industry and academics.