Development of environmentally friendly technologies for the energy transition

The Freudenberg Performance Materials Business Group has signed a large-volume contract with a globally active automotive supplier for the multi-year supply of high-performance gas diffusion layers for the stacks of fuel cell systems.

Worldwide applications are medium and heavy commercial vehicles as well as buses. 500,000 square metres of gas diffusion layers are produced annually at the Weinheim site by some 120 employees, and the quantity is expected to more than double next year. Customers come from Europe, North America and Asia. Freudenberg is thus driving forward its global fuel activities and is also pushing ahead with the breakthrough of mass production of fuel cell stacks.

Production of gas diffusion layers at the Weinheim site


square metres

Fuel cell technology is an important basis for a successful energy transition. Gas diffusion layers play a decisive role in this: They are essential for the function of a fuel cell and have a considerable influence on the performance of a fuel cell stack. For more than 20 years, Freudenberg has had unique expertise in the development and production of gas diffusion layers for fuel cell applications in mobility and of porous transport layers for electrolysers.

How a fuel cell works

A fuel cell converts the chemical energy of hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen into electricity. At the heart of a fuel cell is a catalyst-coated membrane with function-optimised gas diffusion layers made of carbonised non-woven fabric positioned on both sides. The gas diffusion layers feed the hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen evenly to the membrane and discharge the products of the CO2-free chemical reaction: electricity, heat and water. In addition, they protect the sensitive membrane and are functionally optimised for the bipolar plate. Several fuel cells are assembled to form a fuel cell stack.

Investment in technology and production capacity

"This large-volume, multi-year series order shows that the long-term investments in our technologies and the close cooperation with our customers are paying off," explains Dr Frank Heislitz, CEO Freudenberg Performance Materials. "Fuel cell technology will therefore be an increasingly important cornerstone for our business activities in the future." Freudenberg is currently expanding its production capacities with additional facilities at its Weinheim headquarters. Further investments are about to be implemented.