Faurecia opened its global competence centre for hydrogen storage systems in the French city of Bavans after having invested 25 million euros. The company wants to develop lightweight and cost-effective tanks and systems here to promote hydrogen mobility.
Or to promote it further. Faurecia has already started to manufacture hydrogen storage systems for heavy-duty trucks and light commercial vehicle fleets for several international OEMs. One of them is Hyundai that relies on the French for the 1,600 XCient fuel cell trucks allocated to the Swiss market, which they just started to deliver.
Accordingly, Faurecia says it currently has the ability “to produce several thousands of hydrogen storage systems per year and aims to ramp up its production capacity” in France.
The global competence centre in Bavan is a “unique site” in the eyes of Faurecia CEO Patrick Koller. Faurecia employs 60 engineers there to test and develop new systems and says they can process about 10,000 a year on-site. Tasks include the design of prototypes tailored to client requirements or hydraulic, gas, leak and burst testing with AI support, according to the company. And there is, of course, the development of new tank design “to increase their performance and in particular the volume of hydrogen stored per kg,” says Faurecia. The current tanks use carbon-fibre and predictive maintenance, again with AI. Faurecia also states they have an eye on recycling and the circular economy.
In addition to the hydrogen storage systems that Faurecia already manufactures and also develops with the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the Group has created Symbio, a joint venture with Michelin, dedicated to the development and production of fuel cell stacks.
Faurecia says their ambition for the JV is to become “a leader on both fuel cell stacks and hydrogen storage systems in a market that will represent almost 20 billion euros by 2030”. The company estimates this is the equivalent to five million fuel cell vehicles being produced by that time. Symbio is to drive business development in Europe, China and the USA and aims to achieve a market share of 25 per cent by 2030 and sales of around 1.5 billion euros.
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