Aberdeen energy services company Hydrasun has expanded its drive into the hydrogen market with the purchase of specialist supplier Fuel Cell Systems (FCS).
Berkshire-based FCS designs and builds bespoke systems including electrolysers for green hydrogen, alongside a host of applications for transport and static off-grid technology.
Hydrasun has immediately more than doubled its hydrogen revenues for 2022 with the purchase, having already been expecting takings of £5-6m from the low-carbon fuel.
Fuel Cell Systems is anticipating sales revenue of £6 million in 2022, which is expected to increase to £10m in the next financial year.
Hydrasun chief executive Bob Drummond said the immediate priority is scaling up manufacturing of FCS’ range of hydrogen refuelling systems and accelerating research and development.
The company will also embark on a “significant recruitment drive” to more than double FCS’ current headcount of 20 within the next 12 months.
Mr Drummond said: “We are delighted to have completed this transaction and are very excited at the prospect of working closely with Tom and the team at FCS and to achieving the full potential for our combined organisations in the rapidly emerging and growing Hydrogen Sector.”
FCS’s core business involves working with major fuel cell manufacturers and then designing and recommending the most suitable solution for each customer’s requirements and integrate these within their energy systems.
The company has also developed a series of hydrogen refuelling systems for a range of applications in the transport sectors and integrated modular electrolyser systems for hydrogen generation.
Tom Chicken, CEO of Fuel Cell Systems, said: “Hydrasun have been a key supplier to FCS for many years and have been critical in the manufacturing and deployment of our hydrogen systems.
“This exciting new announcement will now mean the companies working together in this rapidly growing sector to help develop the green hydrogen infrastructure required for net zero.”
Foot on the pedal
Hydrasun is expecting to land on the “top end” of estimates of £90-100m for turnover this year, representing at least 25% growth.
The firm now has 452 employees overall, up from 436 in July, with 361 in Scotland and an Aberdeen headcount of 245 – with 24 open vacancies.
The acquisition “is the first part of really accelerating the building of that hydrogen capability”, said Mr Drummond, after the firm unveiled a dedicated skills academy this year.
“The next two pieces of the jigsaw which we’re actively working on is a step-change in our hydrogen engineering design capability, and we’re already looking at a couple of potential targets there.”
The final piece is boosting its capability to integrate hydrogen into the energy network.
It comes after private equity group SCF Partners came in as a backer of Hydrasun last year.
Hydrasun is meanwhile opening new facilities in Rotterdam, Teesside and Germany. The former is moving in right now, with Teesside slated for January and Germany expected in Q2 2023.
The firm is also ready to open its skills academy operationally, with a formal launch in spring time, while talks are also progressing on a building decarbonisation project planned for the Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) in Aberdeen with Panasonic.
On FCS, Mr Drummond added: “I think this acquisition is not only important for Hydrasun, I think it’s really important from a city, regional and Scotland-wide perspective.
“It shows that we are rapidly building Scottish hydrogen supply chain capability.
“When you look at the vision of the (city) council in the region, I just think it’s important that we continue to increase the pace at which we do so.”