Symbio, a Michelin and Faurecia hydrogen company, and Schaeffler signed an agreement for the creation of a 50:50 joint venture to produce fuel cell bipolar plates for global mobility and energy solutions.
The company, which will be operational under the brand name Innoplate, 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.
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 highest sustainability standards and will target net zero-emission operations.
Symbio and Schaeffler will be 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.
Symbio has more than 30 years of cumulated experience in developing fuel cell systems and offers a complete range of compact StackPacks, pre-validated and pre-integrated hydrogen systems that meet all requirements in terms of power and durability for zero-emission mobility.
Schaeffler, a leading global supplier to the automotive and industrial sectors, has high expertise in precise forming and stamping technologies, and a deep process know-how for large scale production of metallic bipolar plates. Within Schaeffler these are being used for electrolyzers for the production of hydrogen and as a key element of fuel cell stacks for all types of mobile and stationary fuel cell applications. Schaeffler’s high level of vertical integration in the area of forming, as well as highly sophisticated coating processes, form the basis for its deep process know-how for large scale production of BPP.