The MFCIC aims to be at the forefront of hydrogen and fuel cell technology, which creates sustainable electrical energy through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen – with water as the only by-product.
The technology could power homes, offices, factories, cars and public transport – making them more efficient and not dependent on the main power grid.
Fuel cells have higher efficiency than diesel or gas engines, operate silently and produce heat and water. They can be used to store energy efficiently, which other forms of renewable energy currently struggle to do.
Researchers at MFCIC will share their expertise and £2.5m of dedicated specialist equipment with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Greater Manchester – training them in this new technology so they can discover and utilise its commercial and environmental benefits.
Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "The Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre will be a regional hub for research innovation and economic growth in the fuel cell technology sector."
MFCIC will produce advanced materials for fuel cells and next generation energy storage, utilising nanomaterials and 3D printing for example, and plan hydrogen and fuel cell infrastructure for the region.
Over the coming months, MFCIC will run workshops to show SMEs how they can improve efficiency and open up new market opportunities by collaborating with researchers and incorporating hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
MFCIC researchers will also educate the next generation about hydrogen power and the importance of ensuring an environmentally sustainable future, visiting Greater Manchester schools with its HySchools project.
The MFCIC will create teaching materials, practical lab investigations that can be shared across the platforms that schools use to teach the curriculum.
MCFIC was a founder of the Greater Manchester Hydrogen Partnership, and the centre will be the region's lightning rod for research and development in the hydrogen power and fuel cell sector. The centre was partly funded with £1.6m from the European Regional Development Fund, with the University providing the rest of the funds.