Technology and Manufacturing

Key growth engines that fuel the world’s economy

Technology and manufacturing are considered key growth engines that fuel the world’s economy. Whilst manufacturing provides the foundation for many kinds of innovations, new technologies change the way we live our everyday lives. Both have a pronounced effect on every aspect of 21st-century life.

Now more than ever, the forces of technological advancements are bringing in many new, exciting possibilities and jobs. Given the constantly evolving nature of both sectors, the potential for growth and opportunities is unlimited.

Technology and manufacturing have both undergone a tumultuous decade, specifically within the energy industry. With manufacturing accounting for one fifth of carbon emissions in the US, manufacturers are ramping up efforts to reduce their carbon footprint by investing in alternative processes, systems, and materials. Breakthrough technological developments are helping to roll out cleaner technologies that can advance towards zero-emissions manufacturing and a more sustainable future for all.

Charles Battersby

Expert Advice

Looking for an expert at Gibson Watts to offer you tailored advice? Arrange a meeting with Charles today.

How industrial hydrogen technology is paving the way for a zero-emissions world

Hydrogen manufacturing

Industrial hydrogen manufacturing refers to the different methods used to produce hydrogen gas. As of 2022, fossil fuels are still the dominant source of industrial hydrogen, but efforts are being made to shift towards renewable resources such as water and biomass.

To differentiate between the source or process used to make hydrogen, a colour coding spectrum is used. The three main types of hydrogen are:

  • Green hydrogen is made by using clean electricity from renewable energy technologies to electrolyse water.
  • Blue hydrogen is produced mainly from natural gas, using a process called steam reforming.
  • Grey hydrogen is derived from natural gas and produced from fossil fuels. This is the most common form of hydrogen production but the least renewable.

Among these different manufacturing processes, green hydrogen is positioned to be the 'fuel of the future', offering a clean energy alternative to sections of the economy that are hard to decarbonise. It is generated by using an apparatus (an electrolyser) that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen - this process is called electrolysis.

Fuel cell manufacturing

In short, a fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts the chemical energy of a fuel (hydrogen) to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity.

Fuel cells and the green hydrogen produced by them can be used to drive hydrogen-powered vehicles and act as a source of primary and backup power for commercial, industrial, and residential buildings. They have an important role to play for the future of our energy systems, given that they produce no harmful emissions. Currently, there has been a shift in focus towards using fuel cell technology in transport systems and infrastructures, with the hope that it eventually supercedes the conventional petroleum-powered vehicles. While this is promising for the heavy-duty transport industry in particular, the speed at which this technology can be scaled to will ultimately depend on how readily available electrolysers are.

Find out more here

Electrolyser manufacturing

Amid the global energy crisis, electrolysers are needed more than ever to produce low-emissions hydrogen from renewable electricity. According to reports, if electrolyser projects in the pipeline go ahead as planned, the world’s capacity to produce hydrogen via electrolysers could rise up to 290 gigawatts in 2030 compared to 0.5 gigawatts in 2021.

Electrolysis is a leading hydrogen production pathway, but the electrolyser manufacturing industry is currently facing a short supply of large electrolysers. To combat this challenge, the next generation of electrolysers must be designed for mass production and assembly. Other hydrogen production technologies will be used in the meantime whilst the supply catches up with the demand.

Helping build the future of clean technology

Technology and manufacturing are considered some of the fastest-growing, fastest-changing, and possibly most demanding career sectors. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your workforce is diverse, agile, and adaptable.

Our search process is future-focused, helping you find leaders who will push the energy transition forward. We understand that recruiting within technology and manufacturing disciplines requires a thorough understanding of how these industries work and how they are developing. Our Senior Consultant, Charles Battersby, and Research Associate, Aditya Amonker are experts in these fields and have a strong network that can help strengthen your team.