Umicore to build PEM recycling plant in China

Belgian materials technology and recycling group Umicore is investing in a PEM fuel cell catalyst production facility in China. Located in the northwest of Shanghai, the plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2024 and will be scalable to adapt to the growth of the H2 commercial vehicle market.

According to Umicore, the project in Changshu is a greenfield plant, planned from the outset for climate-neutral operation. With the recycling plant, Umicore wants to “strengthen its leading technology and market position in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell catalysts”. The company does not provide further details on the size of the plant and the planned investments in the press release.

The recycling of FC catalysts is about metals such as platinum, which will be reused for the production of new catalysts – thus reducing the Scope 3 CO2 footprint.

“Over the past 30 years, we’ve successfully grown to become a market leader in fuel cell catalyst technology,” says Bart Sap, executive vice president of Umicore’s Catalysis business group. “With this new large-scale plant in China, we will be ready to cater for growing demand from our customers, in a market expected to expand 12-fold towards 2030 and accelerate beyond.”


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