The Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre (MFCIC), which cost £4.1m, is dedicated to developing new sources of hydrogen and fuel cell energy.
Fuel cells have higher efficiency than diesel or gas engines, operate silently and the only waste product at point of use is heat and water.
They can be used to store energy efficiently, which other forms of renewable energy currently struggle to do.
The technology could power homes, offices, factories, cars and public transport – making them more efficient and not dependent on the main power grid.
Researchers at MFCIC will share their expertise and £2.5m of dedicated specialist equipment with SMEs across Greater Manchester – training them in this new technology so they can discover and utilise its commercial and environmental benefits.
MFCIC will also 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.
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.
‘This is crucial both environmentally and economically for the region, as the UK focuses on increasing its use of renewable energy and lowering emissions,’ he added.
‘I am delighted that we will be making our expertise and distinctive capabilities in fuel cell technology available to industry, business and policy makers across Greater Manchester, transforming how we all power our homes, workplaces and vehicles.’
Amer Gaffar, director of partnerships at the Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre, said: ‘There is currently huge investment in hydrogen and fuel cell technology, both nationally and globally, and this will continue to grow.
‘Our collaborations with SMEs will open up the vast market opportunities that fuel cells can bring to Greater Manchester business and industry – ensuring that this green technology is adopted across the region.
‘We are also excited about engaging with the public, educating people about the importance of producing sustainable energy and how hydrogen power can benefit all of us.’