French automotive supplier Plastic Omnium is setting up a joint venture in China with Shenergy Group for the production of high-pressure hydrogen tanks for use in commercial vehicles. The duo plans to mass produce up to 60,000 H2 tanks annually starting in 2026.
According to Plastic Omnium, a pilot production line is initially to be built in Shanghai in 2025, and a large plant with said annual production capacity is to go into operation the following year. The joint venture has yet to be named and will be owned equally by both partners. The new company is to be based in Shanghai and will be responsible for both marketing and manufacturing the H2 tanks.
Shenergy Group calls the venture a “major player in the energy sector with an ambitious strategic roadmap for hydrogen in China.” Laurent Favre, CEO of Plastic Omnium, expects his company’s partnership with Shenergy to give it a stronger position in the Chinese market for hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles. “We are building the manufacturing capacity we need to seize every opportunity to become one of the major winners in the mobility transformation. It also gives us a solid basis from which to explore new opportunities for further cooperation in the local hydrogen ecosystem,” Favre said.
According to Ni Bin, president of Shenergy Group, his group is committed to establishing a hydrogen production value chain in China as soon as possible. The collaboration will “make an important contribution to the further development of hydrogen technology and manufacturing efficiency,” he said.
Plastic Omnium has been best known for manufacturing plastic exterior body parts and tanks but is increasingly diversifying. Last year, Plastic Omnium invested 20 million euros in French battery manufacturer Verkor and acquired Actia Power, which specializes in power electronics and electrification systems, among other things.
Plastic Omnium employs 37,000 people and has 150 plants and 43 research and development centres. The fuel cell joint venture EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, operated by Plastic Omnium along with ElringKlinger, has also recently established a Chinese subsidiary. This involves the production of fuel cell stacks in the city of Suzhou.
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