Hyzon Motors Inc., a supplier of hydrogen fuel cell powered heavy vehicles (earlier post), plans to build the largest fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA) production line for commercial vehicles in the United States at its new Hyzon Innovation Center located in Bolingbrook, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.
HYZON has developed advanced cathode catalysts in-house and uses functionalized ionomers and nanoengineered microporous layers to reduce the Platinum loading in the cathode catalyst layer of the MEA. It is also developing novel membrane stabilizers to improve membrane lifetime without any trade off in performance or durability.
By integrating these new capabilities, tests have shown HYZON’s MEA outperformed the best-in-class third-party catalyst in cell reversal tolerance by a factor of 1.6, highlighting the potential for enhanced freeze start-up capability.
The MEA is the critical component of a fuel cell and accounts for about 70% of the cost of a fuel cell stack. MEAs are currently produced in Canada, Europe, Japan, Korea and China at commercial scale. Smaller scale MEA production in the United States has so far been a supply and cost bottleneck for US fuel cell vehicle production, Hyzon says.
At full capacity, the Hyzon Innovation Center is expected to produce enough MEAs to cover the production needs for up to 12,000 hydrogen fuel cell powered trucks every year. The facility is expected to commence production of MEAs in the fourth quarter of 2021, and is planned to open with 28,000 square feet of manufacturing space, before expanding in a second phase to 80,000 square feet. Hyzon expects to eventually fill up to 50 full-time positions at this production facility.
The new Hyzon Innovation Center is essential to our strategy to expand the US hydrogen supply chain, reduce fuel cell costs for commercialization, and create local jobs. We chose the greater Chicago area due to its top-tier universities, national labs, equipment companies and manufacturers, and a large pool of talent for recruiting a highly-skilled workforce. We are looking forward to empowering this unique ecosystem so that we can further accelerate the energy transition and decarbonize heavy road transport.—George Gu, Chairman and Co-Founder of Hyzon
The Hyzon Innovation Center will also conduct research and development on materials for fuel cells, electrolyzers, solid-state batteries, advanced e-drive systems, autonomous driving technologies and green hydrogen production technologies.
In addition to the Hyzon Innovation Center outside Chicago, Hyzon has two facilities in Rochester, New York—one serving as a fuel cell testing facility and the other as its US headquarters, fuel cell engine production facility, and vehicle integration center.
The Company currently produces commercial vehicles at its facility in Groningen, The Netherlands, through a joint venture with Holthausen Clean Technology B.V.
As announced previously, Hyzon plans to go public through a merger with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The combination is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.