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New hydrogen and fuel cell partnerships

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August 16, 2021

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New hydrogen and fuel cell partnerships

Luca de Meo (Renault Group, left) and Andy Marsh (Plug Power), © Renault

© Renault

The time has come for new collaborations in the hydrogen sector. As noted in this year’s May issue, the number of reports about company mergers and new partnerships has increased steadily over the past months. One example of this is the partnership formed by electrolyzer manufacturer Nel after its recent foray into the solar market. In early May, the group announced that one of its subsidiaries, Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser, is now working with First Solar, a manufacturer of PV modules, to design integrated solar-hydrogen power plants.
A short time later, news broke that Danish hydrogen business Everfuel and Norwegian aluminum maker Norsk Hydro signed a memorandum of understanding to improve conditions for electrolyzers in Europe. The agreement contemplates installing the Hydrogen Distribution Centers that are being developed by Everfuel at electrolyzer sites near Norsk Hydro’s aluminum smelters to ensure the fast and safe refueling of the latter company’s hydrogen trailers.

Meanwhile, Danish wind energy giant  has been looking to South Korea for forging new alliances, teaming up with national steelmaker POSCO on a large offshore wind project. Their MoU, signed in late May, also includes a promise to explore a potential collaboration on renewable hydrogen projects, with POSCO’s vice president, Jung-Son Chon, saying his company is working to identify new “opportunities for green hydrogen.”
In the same month, Toyota said it entered into partnership with Japanese energy business Eneos to advance hydrogen-powered transportation and move forward with its new Woven City flagship project, where hydrogen is said to play a major role. The city, which will be constructed at the bottom of Mount Fuji, is hoped to become a living laboratory that uses smart, connected and sustainable technologies to allow residents to live in harmony with nature.
In early June, Renault and Plug Power set up the joint venture they announced back in January. Called HYVIA, the new French company will have employees at four locations and provide complete transportation solutions, ranging from light hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles to carbon-free hydrogen gas supplies.
As early as April, German auto supplier Schaeffler had already formed a strategic alliance with Chinese fuel cell maker Refire. At Auto Shanghai 2021, representatives for both then inked a deal to collaborate on the development of important fuel cell components, including bipolar plates and thermal management systems.
Automotive electronics manufacturer EPH, on the other hand, bid the market farewell, shutting down all of its fuel cell-related activities at the start of the year.

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