Solvay’s polymer membranes technology will be a key element in hydrogen market

Brussels, January 13, 2021

Solvay has launched a hydrogen platform that will bring together all the innovative material and chemical solutions the Group has to offer to advance the emerging hydrogen economy. At the heart of the platform is Solvay’s membrane technology (ion conducting polymer), which constitutes a necessary component in the process of hydrogen production. 

By creating this platform, Solvay is increasing its resources dedicated to this emerging market, including efforts in research and innovation.  As from this year, Solvay is fully dedicating teams involving research, engineering, sales and marketing working together in crafting Solvay’s added value to the future hydrogen market.

Together with its membrane technology, under the brand Aquivion® that will be a key contributor to the electrolyser and fuel cells markets, Solvay also intends to bring other hydrogen applications and components to the market, such as hydrogen tanks. 

“The hydrogen economy has taken-off, and with our new hydrogen platform, we are partnering with our customers in the electrolyser and fuel cells space to make it happen,” said Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri. “Green hydrogen will be one of the most competitive low carbon solutions for transportation applications in the near future and I’m proud that Solvay’s membrane technology will be a key element in the transition towards cleaner mobility, helping the fight against global climate change.” 

As part of this commitment, Solvay has also joined the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led initiative that brings together leading companies with a united vision and long-term ambition for hydrogen to foster the clean energy transition. Solvay’s hydrogen platform is integral to the Group’s One Planet initiative, which includes ten measurable commitments to achieve the SDGs across three focus areas: climate, resources and better life.

Background 

Solvay has been researching and developing its ionomer technology for the past twenty years in preparation for the development of hydrogen technology. Solvay’s technology has demonstrated its value proposition with customers; the company has multiple qualifications underway with sizable sales potential in the next few years.

While lithium-ion batteries have emerged as the preferred solution to make the automotive sector more sustainable, this is not enough as they do not cover all needs related to the necessary decarbonization to make transportation truly sustainable. Hydrogen is poised to fill that gap. 

Production of green hydrogen via water electrolysis is expected to reach more than 100GW of global capacity by 2030, while the global fleet of fuel cell electric vehicles - ranging from large passenger cars to heavy-duty commercial vehicles, trucks, buses and even trains - is forecasted to reach several million vehicles by 2030.

Clean hydrogen fuel is a key component of the EU's Green Deal, as it is a recognized technology needed to support ambitions towards an ecological and sustainable energy transition. Public support for hydrogen is increasing exponentially, with USD 10 billion of post-Covid19 stimulus being dedicated (mostly in Europe and APAC) to green hydrogen R&D and infrastructure deployment.

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    About Solvay’s growth platforms

    • Batteries: Solvay is one of the only companies that has the broad range of technologies needed to both create and then recycle batteries at the end of their life cycles. The company recently announced a partnership with Veolia and Renault to create a circular process for electric and hybrid vehicle batteries. Solvay has the expertise to extract and purify metals and transform them into high-purity raw materials for new batteries. 
    • Green hydrogen: Solvay’s platform brings together all the solutions the group has to offer to help enable the green hydrogen economy. These include Solvay’s ion-conducting polymer membrane technology, which is at the heart of electrolyzers and fuel cells systems, and plays a key role in their efficiency and durability.
    • Thermoplastic composites: Solvay’s thermoplastics composites platform brings together its specialty polymers and composite technologies to meet demanding lightweighting applications across many industries. Thermoplastic composites are 30 to 50 percent lighter than metals, inherently more recyclable, and provide a lower total cost of ownership to car manufacturers.

    About Solvay

    Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 24,100 employees in 64 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet plan crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €10.2 billion in 2019. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels (SOLB) and Paris and in the United States, where its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a Level I ADR program. Learn more at www.solvay.com.

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