SGL Carbon and the Hyundai Motor Group have agreed on an early extension to the existing supply agreement for fuel cell components.
The long-term agreement provides now for a substantial ramp-up of current production and delivery volumes of gas diffusion layers for the NEXO fuel cell car to support Hyundai’s objectives in the area of fuel cell drives. The investment required to fulfill this contract will not increase the overall capital expenditure budget of SGL Carbon in the next two years, as the company has reprioritized its investment projects.
“The extension of the partnership with Hyundai is perfectly aligned to our strategic direction. Intelligent solutions in the area of sustainable energy are one of the key growth drivers for our company,” explained Dr. Michael Majerus, Spokesman of the Board of Management of SGL Carbon. “Whether used in a drive system in vehicles or as a stationary power supply, the fuel cell is one of the greenest energy technologies around. The market for fuel cells thus offers enormous potential for us.”
In the medium-term, SGL Carbon plans to more than quintuple its business with fuel cell components to annual sales of approximately €100 million ($111 million). The company supplies around 200 customers around the world with gas diffusion layers for use in fuel cells. As a result of the growing demand, the company has gradually stepped up production capacity at its plant in Meitingen.
Thanks to its technological expertise and experience, SGL Carbon is in a position to manufacture high-quality components for fuel cells on an industrial scale. To further advance the accelerated commercialisation, the business with gas diffusion layers (GDL) will be transferred from the central R&D department Central Innovation to the business unit Graphite Materials & Systems (GMS) already in the fourth quarter 2019.
Powered by hydrogen, the fuel cell is one of the cleanest technologies of the future. Hydrogen can be produced in a climate-neutral way using surplus energy from renewable sources. The only waste product after the reaction is water, which can be discharged in the form of water vapor. In the transport sector, the fuel cell offers greater range and a shorter refueling time than battery-powered drive systems. According to market estimates, up to 20% of all electric vehicles in the world will be powered by fuel cells by 2030. In addition to the transport sector, there are also huge opportunities arising from the stationary use of fuel cells, e.g. as a power supply.
SGL Carbon has been carrying out research and development into components for fuel cells since the 1990s. The gas diffusion layers regulate the flow of gas within the fuel cell and carry water and heat away. They have a significant impact on the power density and the efficiency of the fuel cell. Sigracet gas diffusion layers from SGL Carbon were first used as a standard in the Hyundai iX35 in 2012.