BASF Future Business GmbH (Ludwigshafen, Germany) will acquire Frankfurt-based PEMEAS GmbH, a leading supplier of fuel cell components, from a group made up of seven investors. No financial details were disclosed. The acquisition will be completed by the end of January.
With this purchase, BASF is strengthening its activities in the field of energy management—one of five growth clusters, in which the chemical company is developing new technologies and materials for energy storage and energy conversion, as well as for alternative energy capture.
PEMEAS was founded in April 2004 as a spin-off of the former Hoechst Group’s fuel cell activities. The company has approximately 50 employees and operates manufacturing and R&D facilities in Germany and the United States.
PEMEAS is currently pursuing two strategies. The Celtec division focuses on the development and commercialization of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. These devices operate at temperatures between 120° C to 180° C, and are more reliable and cost efficient than conventional low-temperature fuel cells.
The current Celtec-P MEAs are based on the high temperature resistant polymer polybenzimidazole (PBI) and phosphoric acid as electrolyte. The Celtec-V membranes and MEAs currently under development are based on PBI and a solid non-extractable polymer electrolyte instead of phosphoric acid. In addition to being suitable for a broad operational temperature range, the Celtec membranes are resistant to contact with liquid water.
The E-TEK division develops and manufactures catalysts, gas diffusion layers and electrodes for low- and high-temperature PEM fuel cells as well as for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC).
PEMEAS is an excellent strategic fit and will speed up our ongoing activities in energy management. Our developments are currently focusing on new materials for organic solar cells, innovative storage media for hydrogen and the membrane electrode assembly for small portable fuel cells.—Dr. Thomas Wehlage, managing director of BASF Future Business
The global fuel cell market will grow from €1 billion in 2010 to €21.5 billion in 2020, according to the company.
BASF’s five growth clusters are:
- Energy management;
- Raw material change;
- Plant biotechnology; and
- White biotechnology.
BASF has earmarked €850 million for research activities in the five growth clusters for the period from 2006 to 2008, of which approximately €90 million will be spent on energy management. BASF expects annual sales of €2 billion to €4 billion from innovations arising from these growth clusters as of 2015.
BASF Future Business GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF Aktiengesellschaft and was founded in April 2001. It aims to open up business areas with above-average growth rates that lie outside BASF’s current activities. The company focuses on chemistry-based new materials, technologies and system solutions.