Symbio and Schaeffler – New European joint-venture for a clean mobility

Symbio, a hydrogen company of Faurecia and Michelin, and Schaeffler Group, to form Innoplate, a global joint venture (JV) for the production of bipolar fuel cell plates (BPP), a strategic fuel cell component

Symbio, a hydrogen company of Michelin and Faurecia, and Schaeffler have signed an agreement to establish a 50:50 joint venture to produce bipolar fuel cell plates for global mobility and energy solutions. The joint venture will be located in Haguenau, in Alsace, France. It will combine the know-how of leading European car suppliers and a global leader in fuel cell technology for cars, who together see huge potential in the evolving hydrogen economy. It will also build a Franco-German partnership aimed at strengthening the European hydrogen mobility value chain.

The company, which will be operational under the Innoplate brand by the end of the year, will accelerate production of next-generation BPP for the entire proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell market, improving performance, capacity and cost competitiveness for its customers. The joint venture is expected to be established by the end of 2022, subject to customary conditions precedent, such as applicable merger control approvals.

JV will industrialize the production of bipolar fuel cell plates on a large scale and create more than 120 qualified jobs in France

The start of production of the JV is planned for early 2024. The production unit will be located in Haguenau, France, and will have an initial capacity of 4 million BPP per year, with the aim of generating approximately 50 million BPP annually worldwide. manufacturing and employing more than 120 employees. people by 2030. The site will meet the highest sustainability standards and will focus on net zero-emission operations.

Innoplate will enable and accelerate the mass production of next-generation BPP, with Symbio and Schaeffler being the JV’s exclusive customers. Symbio has received its first major nomination for its fuel cell system from a leading automotive OEM and plans to use the joint venture to provide the BPP for this program.

Symbio has more than 30 years of accumulated experience in developing fuel cell systems and offers a complete range of compact StackPacks®, pre-validated and pre-integrated hydrogen systems that meet all power and durability requirements for zero-emission mobility.

Schaeffler, a leading global supplier to the automotive and industrial sectors, has high expertise in precision forming and stamping technologies and in-depth process knowledge for large-scale production of metal bipolar plates. Within Schaeffler, these are used for electrolysers for hydrogen production and as a key element of fuel cell stacks for all types of mobile and stationary fuel cell applications. Schaeffler’s high degree of vertical integration in molding, as well as highly advanced coating processes, form the basis of its in-depth process knowledge for large-scale production of BPP.

Metallic bipolar fuel cell plates are a strategic, high value added component of the fuel cell system. Innoplate will play an important role in securing the serial production capacity that supports our customers’ programs and the adoption of the hydrogen mobility market, while accelerating the improved system performance and effectively increasing the cost competitiveness of our solutions. In addition, it demonstrates Symbio’s commitment to building technological and industrial leadership in Europe.

Philippe Rosier, CEO of Symbio

We believe that hydrogen will play a crucial role in enabling clean mobility in the future. The emergence of a hydrogen economy and the transition to sustainable energy sources will largely depend on the industrialization of reliable supply chains for the new technologies. Our joint venture with Symbio is a good example of this approach. As a global company headquartered in Germany, we are also very pleased to partner with Symbio in France and promote Franco-German cooperation in this important area. The joint venture enables rapid market entry for Schaeffler in collaboration with a leading fuel cell supplier.

Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler

At FORVIA, we are well placed to know that the collaboration between two major Franco-German companies is a powerful engine to achieve excellence. Our beliefs in fuel cells are solid and constant: hydrogen is at the heart of tomorrow’s mobility. Together, Symbio and Schaeffler are putting their complementary know-how at the service of Innoplate to create a key player in hydrogen mobility.

Patrick Koller, CEO of Faurecia, company of the FORVIA group

This strategic move between Schaeffler and Symbio will accelerate the development of hydrogen mobility at a faster pace. It will undoubtedly strengthen Symbio’s capacity to become a global leader in fuel cell systems by 2030. At Michelin, we strongly believe that pan-European cooperation is an excellent way for European industrial players to stay at the forefront of strategic technologies. This Franco-German alliance demonstrates it perfectly.

Florent Menegaux, CEO of Michelin

SOURCE: Michelin

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