Umicore has announced that it will be expanding its production capacity for fuel cell catalysts in South-Korea to support the growth of Hyundai Motors Group as well as other automotive customers.
The low double-digit million euro investment entails the construction of a new production plant close to Umicore’s technology development centre near Seoul. The new plant will be commissioned towards the end of 2019 and is expected to be fully ramped up by the end of 2020. The selected site allows for further expansions beyond 2020. With this production footprint expansion in South-Korea and the existing production capacity in Hanau, Germany, Umicore is well placed to serve the growing demand from its automotive customers globally.
In the move to cleaner mobility, fuel cell drivetrains are gaining traction as an environmentally friendly alternative to combustion engines, with the technology maturity now demonstrated and commercial scale programs being launched by several car OEMs.
Umicore has developed a complete and competitive portfolio of product technologies for fuel cell catalysts and has entered into close collaboration agreements with leading OEMs for existing car platforms as well as future development programs.
Pascal Reymondet, EVP Catalysis, commented: “Today’s announcement underlines Umicore’s commitment to further strengthen its unique position in the technology portfolio and roadmap for clean mobility materials, being the only company worldwide offering at commercial scale the full spectrum of materials technologies to drive the transition to cleaner mobility.”
About Umicore’s fuel cell activities
As a leading supplier of automotive and homogeneous chemical catalysts, Umicore has developed fuel cell catalysts for a broad range of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell technologies since the end of 1980’s. Its experience in those areas has led to the development of superior fuel cell catalysts. Its catalysts are designed for superior performance and durability requirements in fuel cell vehicles, in PEM Electrolysis and other fuel cell based applications.
About fuel cell drivetrains
The application of platinum as a catalyst for generating electric power through conversion of hydrogen with oxygen is more than 100 years old. In the move to cleaner mobility, the application has gained importance as fuel cell drivetrains combine the environmental advantages of battery drivetrains with the driving range and refueling time of internal combustion engines.