Celanese and Honda Partner to Develop Automotive Fuel Cells

December 11, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

Celanese AG (Germany) and Honda (Japan) announced that their research subsidiaries, Celanese Ventures Gmbh and Honda R&D Co., will cooperate in the development of membranes and membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for the creation of a new fuel cell for car engines. The venture is hoped to both improve the performance of car fuel cells and make them less expensive.

Celanese said it would provide Honda with solid polymer membranes which would run with a Honda-produced mechanical component to form MEAs. The membrane, which is produced only by Celanese, is made from polybenzimidazole (PBI), a heat-resistant high-performance polymer. The company claims that PBI is capable of withstanding 180 degrees C of heat when other polymers average only 100 degrees C. To protect this new technology, Celanese has obtained, or is in the process of obtaining, sixty-five patents and patent applications.

“It is our intent to become the leading MEA supplier to the emerging fuel cell industry. This agreement with Honda is crucial to our success in the automotive sector," said Celanese board member Ernst Schadow. He added, “This market is at its very beginning and how it will develop is not yet foreseeable."

In addition to the agreement with Honda to develop car fuel cells, Celanese has also partnered with Plug Power Inc. (Latham, NY) to work on residential fuel cells.