New York-based fuel cell system manufacturer Plug Power and steelmaker Hyundai Hysco have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a fuel cell joint venture in Asia, the companies have announced.
The proposed five-year partnership would develop, manufacture and sell hydrogen fuel cells for applications in Asian markets. It would make use of Hysco’s R&D work on fuel cell systems and fuel cell stacks with an emphasis on low-cost stack plate technologies.
Details are to be finalized by the end of July 2014, the companies said, with the first products expected as early as next year.
According to financial analysts, Plug Power (with FuelCell Energy and Ballard Power) is one of a trio of US fuel cell companies attracting attention from investors, but the company will need to scale up production quickly and expand its reach into Asia and Europe in order to be profitable. Plug Power has called its global growth strategy “aggressive”.
“This highly anticipated joint venture with Hysco will enable Plug Power to broaden its reach into the Asian market, putting us well on our way toward global market expansion,” said Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power. “The positive impact on our bottom line from fuel cell sales in the region in 2015 and beyond will play a significant role in our achievement of profitability.”
Plug, which buys most of its stacks from Ballard Power, plans to begin its own manufacturing after its $4 million purchase of fuel cell systems maker ReliOn in early April.