Hyzon Motors announced plans for the construction of a factory for fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) for use in commercial vehicles. They claim the plant will be the largest of its kind in the United States.
The new facility will stand next to the Hyzon Innovation Center in Bolingbrook, Illinois, just outside Chicago. At full capacity, Hyzon expects to produce enough MEAs for up to 12,000 fuel-cell-powered trucks per year. They also claim the potential to scale further.
Construction will occur in two phases, according to Hyzon, with the first expansion phase scheduled to begin in Q4 2021. In a second phase, they want to expand the facility to cover 80,000 square feet (7,432 sqm). That is up from 28,000 sqft or about 2,600 sqm in the first phase.
MEAs are a key component for fuel cells and account for about 70% of a stack’s cost. Production at a commercial scale currently occurs in Canada, Europe, Japan, Korea and China, whereas the US only knows smaller scale MEA production. Hyzon considers it “a supply and cost bottleneck for US fuel cell vehicle production” and hopes to jump into the niche.
George Gu, Chairman and Co-Founder of Hyzon, said, “The new Hyzon Innovation Center is essential to our strategy to expand the US hydrogen supply chain, reduce fuel cell costs for commercialisation, and create local jobs.” Hyzon expects to eventually fill up to 50 full-time positions at this production facility. He added they had chosen 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.”
According to the company, they 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.
Apart from Chicago, Hyzon has two facilities in Rochester, New York, for testing and production. They also make commercial vehicles in Europe at a facility in the Dutch city of Groningen through a joint venture with Holthausen Clean Technology as reported.
If not then, further expansion had been on the horizon latest since Hyzon Motors announced its IPO in February via a SPAC deal with the Nasdaq-listed Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation. Only about a week later, they reported the first substantial order. Hiringa from New Zealand expects delivery of 1,500 fuel cell trucks, with the first set to go into service before the year’s end.
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