JCB heir Jo Bamford has launched a hydrogen investment fund which has set its sights on raising £1 billion.
The green entrepreneur – who is the son of JCB chairman Lord Bamford – has joined forces with multi-family office Vedra Partners to launch HYCAP.
The capital, which already stands at more than £200 million after the first round of investment, will be injected largely into UK businesses, with the focus on speeding up green hydrogen production and supply, creating jobs and contributing to the Government’s Net Zero targets.
When fully deployed, the fund will unlock large-scale long-term job creation and aim to save up to 25 per cent of cities’ transport budget.
And with the UK hosting COP26 in Glasgow later this year, Mr Bamford says there is no time to wait in order to harness the appetite of sustainably focused investors.
He believes the UK hydrogen sector would need a £1 billion injection to help it compete with other territories, and added that his team had already identified more than 40 firms in the hydrogen space which will be evaluated for investment.
He said: “With the Government’s relentless pursuit of Net Zero targets and the publication of the damning IPCC report, it is our belief that hydrogen holds the key to reducing emissions – and there is a growing sense of urgency to act now.
“The UK has missed the boat on batteries, a sector dominated by China and the Far East, but we can be global leaders in the production and supply of hydrogen – an economy said to be worth $2.5 trillion in revenues by 2050.”
Mr Bamford is the executive chairman of Oxford-based Ryze Hydrogen Ltd and a self-professed ‘clean energy enthusiast.’ He also sits on the JCB board.
Last year, he teamed up with Lord Bamford to create the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen-powered excavator.
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The HYCAP founding team brings together significant hydrogen, manufacturing, financing and fund management expertise, with industry hires collectively having had working knowledge of more than 150 utility-scale renewables projects in more than 12 countries.
Vedra Partners’ founder Max Gottschalk said there had already been a great deal of interest.
He said: “The fund will be investing across the entire value chain, focusing on production, manufacture and supply, in order to put the UK firmly on the map when it comes to hydrogen.
“By striking meaningful commercial partnerships and developing intelligent go-to-market strategies it is clear HYCAP’s maiden fund can add strategic, operational and financial value to the ecosystem while creating entrepreneurial growth businesses.”