Hydrogen: Plastic Omnium strives for global leadership
In the small automotive world, Plastic Omnium is better known for its plastic fuel tanks and shrouds than for its fuel cell-based systems. However, the French equipment manufacturer can already boast of being the world leader in hydrogen tanks, an indispensable accessory for the battery itself, which produces electrical energy by combining dihydrogen and oxygen molecules. Plastic Omnium aims to invest 100 million euros annually until 2030 to then achieve the rank of “number one in hydrogen mobility” by supplying “25% of the tanks, 10% to 15% of the fuel cells and 10% of”. Complete systems for integration in vehicles”. pretentious?
The French and Germans join forces to become the world market leader in hydrogen mobility
To support its ambitions, Plastic Omnium can rely on the know-how of the German company ElringKlinger, which develops and manufactures fuel cells of different power (from 76 to 205 kW). Since March 2021, the two partners have formed the joint venture EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, which officially inaugurated a production facility that had been in operation for many months on October 5, 2022.
also readHydrogen: why French equipment manufacturers are on top
The event is significant as EKPO prides itself on having a production capacity of 10,000 units where most competitors assemble a few hundred batteries a year. “No other company can claim that,” confirms Marc Perraudin, Managing Director of the New Energies division at Plastic Omnium. Its engineers combine these German fuel cells with a French-designed hydrogen cylinder, adding the air compressor, filtration and cooling system, and backup battery and monitoring electronics needed to create “chain-full hydrogen traction.” The assembly then finds its place on board trucks, trains, boats or stationary generators.
The fuel cell is expensive and bulky and is better suited for trucks, trains and boats than for cars
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