Outgoing AF Group chief executive Jon Duffy is to become chief executive of the renewable energy business Clean Power Hydrogen (CPH2) from September 1st.

CPH2 was established in December 2012 to develop the technology to produce hydrogen faster, more reliably and more cost-effectively than the existing methods which were difficult to scale-up. Hydrogen will be the green fuel of the future as Society decarbonises and has great potential to store the energy generated by renewable technologies.

The company’s patented Membrane-Free Electrolysers can produce hydrogen and pure oxygen from water in a simple, safe, and sustainable way. It recently opened a Technology Innovation Centre at its headquarters in Doncaster and is ready to start full scale production with an international order book.

“The future for hydrogen globally is enormous and to be able to lead a business that has the best technology in its sector is a privilege,” says Mr Duffy. “The design and production talent in the organisation is incredible and we will build a truly world-class and world-scale business.

“It had to take something pretty special for me to leave agriculture, having turned Gleadell (now ADM) around; helped to found and grow Frontier and now professionalised and grown AF. But hydrogen is the fuel of the future and will also have an application in agriculture, especially to store excess energy from wind and solar,” he says.

“I won’t be leaving agriculture completely as I will still do some consultancy work within the sector.”

CPH2 technology director Dr Nigel Williamson adds: “Jon’s strategic thinking and leadership qualities are exactly what we need as the business continues to rapidly develop and grow. His clarity of thought, rigorous attention to detail, and people focus made him the obvious choice.”

• Mr Duffy announced he was to leave AF after three years last November. He is being succeeded at the farmer-owned purchasing group by David Horton-Fawkes of the Gascoyne-Cecil Estate in Hertfordshire, although the effect of the Covid-19 restrictions has delayed his arrival.

AF procurement and commercial director Helen Whittle is providing executive leadership in the interim, with interim finance director Mark Finch overseeing the Group’s trading subsidiaries AF Affinity, AF Biomass and AF Finance.