To intensify its activities in e-mobility, Valmet Automotive is increasingly focusing on the fuel cell. The company now under the lead of its Business Line Engineering has established a Center of Competence Fuel Cell. On the product side, the company has high hopes for an in-house developed flat-membrane humidifier.
“Our target is clearly set. We want to be one of the leading development service providers in the field of fuel cells,” says Dr. Robert Hentschel, SVP Engineering Valmet Automotive.
For this it is indispensable to set the course for the time after today’s generation of battery electric vehicles. For example, Valmet Automotive has been involved with the fuel cell for more than three years. In early 2019, the company joined the fuel cell cluster of Baden-Württemberg. Internally the major step for Valmet Automotive: in April 2019 the Center of Competence (CoC) Fuel Cell was founded to bundle the development work that has been spread over several engineering teams so far. Meanwhile, the Center of Competence headed by Jochen Ludescher has 25 employees.
The most promising product in the pipeline of current in-house developments is a flat-membrane humidifier. The advantage of the in-house development is the very compact design. In contrast to the currently used hollow fibre membrane humidifiers, the design of the flat membrane humidifier by Valmet Automotive is much more compact with the same performance. This opens up very flexible application possibilities. Together with partners, Valmet Automotive now wants to bring the product to production maturity. The interest the company receives by the automotive industry is very high.
The Valmet Automotive Group is one of the largest vehicle contract manufacturers in the world, Tier-1 systems supplier to roof systems and a key development partner to the global automotive industry. In its strategic development, Valmet Automotive Group focuses on electromobility and battery systems. The activities in the group are divided into the four business lines: Manufacturing, Engineering, EV Systems and Roof & Kinematic Systems. Since its founding in 1968, Valmet Automotive has produced more than 1.4 million vehicles at the Uusikaupunki, Finland plant. In 2018, 110,000 vehicles were manufactured, more than ever before in the company’s more than 50-year history. In Salo, near the Uusikaupunki plant, Valmet Automotive will open its first volume production of batteries for the automotive industry in autumn 2019. The company has around 6,000 employees at its locations in Finland, Germany, Poland and Spain (as at: 2018, Dec. 31). The largest shareholders in the Valmet Automotive Group are state-owned Finnish investment company Tesi and the Pontos Group, each with a stake of 38.46 percent. 23.08 percent is held by the Chinese Contemporary Amperes Technology Limited (CATL), the world’s leading manufacturer of batteries and battery cells for electric vehicles.