French auto supplier Faurecia SE and tire and rubber company Michelin have signed a memorandum of understanding for a 50/50 joint venture company to develop hydrogen fuel cell systems.
The JV, Symbio. will combine the two French companies' existing assets to “immediately” offer a range of hydrogen fuel cells systems for all use cases, the companies announced March 11.
Michelin's contribution to the JV will be the activities of Symbio FCell, a hydrogen fuel cell company which Michelin acquired February this year. Michelin, based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, will also collaborate in research and development and production activities.
The cooperation between Michelin and energy group Engie for the development of a hydrogen ecosystem, in particular in the field of hydrogen mobility, will also benefit the joint venture.
Nanterre, France-based Faurecia will contribute the technological fuel cell expertise it has developed through its partnership with the CEA (French alternative energies and atomic energy commission) as well as its strategic relationships with car manufacturers.
Faurecia signed a five-year agreement with the CEA in October 2017, to work together on a research and development program that will focus on fuel cell stack technologies.
Faurecia also will continue its development of high-pressure hydrogen tanks in partnership with Stelia Aerospace Composites, which will also benefit the joint venture. Faurecia and Stelia agreed to join forces in developing fuel cell tanks in 2018, with a focus on using carbon fiber.
At that point, Faurecia said it believes 5 million vehicles may have a fuel cell power system by 2035.
“I welcome the alliance between Michelin and Faurecia, incorporating our strategic asset Symbio. The ultimate aim is to develop a complete mobility offer for hydrogen vehicles, from fuel cells to maintenance services,” said Florent Menegaux, general managing partner and future president of the Michelin Group.
The “joint ambition,” according to Faurecia CEO Patrick Koller, is to create “a center of excellence for hydrogen mobility in France” through the gradual combination of the two companies' activities.