David Woolhouse celebrates five years as CEO
Loughborough – 26th October 2023 – David Woolhouse celebrates his fifth anniversary as Chief Executive Officer at Intelligent Energy.
Emily Foster, from the marketing team at Intelligent Energy (IE), took some time this week to catch up with David to reflect on IE launching their 10th product over his first five years as CEO. Read his interview below.
David: Shall I ask the first question?! You’ve been at IE now for 2 ½ years, straight from university, and doing a terrific job in charge of marketing, what is it you’ve learnt and enjoyed most?
Emily: It has been a real pleasure managing the marketing activities at Intelligent Energy, in my job I’m lucky to get to see what the whole company is up to. I’ve had the opportunity to fly the Intelligent Energy flag across the globe whilst also meeting our fantastic customers and partners over my time here.
…now your turn. The last 5 years at IE have been exceptionally busy, what has it been like leading a hydrogen fuel cell business in this exciting and ever-growing market?
D: IE has been making fuel cells for almost 23 years, but the last few have seen us working extremely hard on re-building the foundations of our company; we can now grow quickly from a solid base. We are ambitious to be a leader in this vitally important green energy sector, helping us all to reach net zero.
E: There has been a steady stream of announcements on new products and orders since you’ve been here, is there anything new to report?
D: Of course, there is always something exciting to report! We have two cool things to share at the moment. 5 years ago, we set out to develop 10 standard products that would enable our growth. This week, we fill in the 10th box, the IE-FLIGHT™ 300 (F300). Our 300kW fuel cell system has been designed from scratch specifically with aerospace in mind – lightweight, altitude-ready, and importantly with the system running at a higher temperature. We’ve not just been designing products though, we’ve been selling them too…we’ve just sold our 1,200th fuel cell system since we started this new standard range in 2018.
E: That’s wonderful news. What else is planned for the rest of the year?
D: For our smaller air-cooled products, we’re ramping up our annual production capacity to 7000 products in our new manufacturing facility in Loughborough; you may have seen a sneak peek on BBC news recently. In auto, we’re fitting our 150kW stack into an SUV for track performance testing, and we’ll be supporting our bus and truck customers in Europe and Asia as they begin their integration processes. For aero, we’ll be installing our new test rigs ready for the light-weighted 200kW stacks to be put through their paces in the new year. And soon we’ll be sharing details on our IE-GRID range…
E: And longer term, what are you planning?
D: We’ve now done most of our core product development, the focus now is systematically growing our top line while taking significant material cost out of all our products year after year. We want to be making our 100kW systems for £10,000 by the end of the decade as we target revenues of £1bn.
E: You’ve previously talked about building gigafactories, what is the plan for manufacturing capacity?
D: We are still planning on ‘giga’ scale capacity and are actively looking at manufacturing locations around the world. This is obviously a significant commitment for us, and when deciding, we’ll work with partners who have a stake in the future of IE. Of course, we will go where the hydrogen economy is strongest and the financial return is most favourable.
E: Well we look forward to finding out more. Bringing the focus back to you and your anniversary, what makes you proud about working at IE?
D: At IE, there are so many incredible people who are passionate about our success and impress with their ingenuity, ownership and hard work. We do an employee survey every year and we see the same words describe our company each time: “friendly, innovative and ambitious”. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with such talented people who support not only our mission but each other. Being able to represent them as the CEO is a real privilege.
E: Thanks David. Finally, any last thoughts on the future of the hydrogen economy?
D: One of the pleasures of working in the fuel cell industry is that we get a front row seat to see countries and industries progressively switch on to how important hydrogen will be as a fuel, and how fuel cell manufacturing can be a driver of GDP. With fuel cells eventually powering up to 50% of transport, companies like IE will be generating wealth wherever we set up shop. And, as the last privately owned long-standing FC company, we are well placed to welcome new ambitious stakeholders who want to help us ‘power the hydrogen future’!
Join us in powering the hydrogen future ®
About Intelligent Energy Limited
Intelligent Energy Limited is focused on the development and manufacture of its lightweight hydrogen fuel cell products ranging from 800W to 300kW+ for customers in the automotive, aerospace, generator, telecoms, materials handling and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sectors.
The company is headquartered and manufactures in Loughborough in the UK, with additional offices and representation in the US, Japan, China and South Korea.