Symbio and Schaeffler to develop Innoplate

The JV allows a fast market entry for Schaeffler in partnership with a leading fuel cell supplier.

Symbio (a Michelin and Faurecia hydrogen company) and Schaeffler signed an agreement to create a 50:50 joint venture to produce fuel cell bipolar plates for global mobility and energy solutions Haguenau, in the Alsace region, France.

Together, Symbio and Schaeffler are putting their complementary know-how at the service of Innoplate to create a key player in hydrogen mobility.

It will combine the know-how of leading European automotive suppliers and a global leader in automotive fuel cell technology who together see vast potential in the developing hydrogen economy. It will also build a Franco-German partnership to strengthen the European hydrogen mobility value chain.

The company, which will be operational under the brand name Innoplate by the end of the year, will accelerate the production of next-generation BPP for the entire proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell market, thus enhancing 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 clearances.

JV will industrialize the production of fuel cell bipolar plates at a large scale and create more than 120 qualified jobs in France 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, aiming at producing annually around 50 million BPP globally and employing more than 120 people by 2030.

The site will embody the highest sustainability standards and will target 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 a first major nomination for their fuel cell system from a leading automotive OEM and plans to use the JV to supply the BPP for this program.

Philippe Rosier, CEO of Symbio, said, “Metallic Fuel Cell bipolar plates are a strategic high added value component of the Fuel Cell system. Innoplate will be instrumental in securing serial production capability underpinning our customers’ programs and the Hydrogen mobility market uptake, while accelerating enhanced system performance and an effective step-up in the cost competitiveness of our solutions.”

Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler, said, “The establishment of a hydrogen economy and the transition to sustainable energy resources will largely depend on the industrialization of reliable supply chains for the new technologies.”

Patrick Koller, CEO of Faurecia, a company of the Group FORVIA, said, “At FORVIA, we are well placed to know that the collaboration between two major Franco-German companies is a powerful driver to achieve excellence.”

Florent Menegaux, CEO of Michelin, said, “This strategic move between Schaeffler and Symbio will foster the development of hydrogen mobility at a faster pace. It will undoubtedly strengthen Symbio’s capacity to become a worldwide fuel cell system leader by 2030.”

Zohaib Ali

Zohaib is the editor of H2 Bulletin. Please click on the email icon to contact me if you want to talk about a news.
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