BASF Fuel Cell GmbH site in Frankfurt, to be closed

Ludwigshafen-based BASF says that it is realigning its business for the fuel cell market. In the future, competencies for the production of high-temperature membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) will be concentrated in Somerset, New Jersey.

Operational activities at the BASF Fuel Cell GmbH site in Frankfurt, Germany, will be discontinued effective 31 December 2009. BASF plans to close the Frankfurt site in the course of 2010.

At the Somerset site, BASF Fuel Cell produces both high-temperature MEAs and important pre-products such as electrodes. Thus, Somerset is the only site that covers the entire production process for MEAs.
''In addition to integrated production, the Somerset site offers us the advantage of being closer to our customers and to key future markets, such as fuel cells for residential combined heat and power systems'', said Stefano Pigozzi, head of BASF's Inorganics division to which BASF Fuel Cell belongs. ''We are strengthening our overall competitiveness by concentrating the competencies of the two sites.''

The restructuring will result in the loss of 43 positions in Frankfurt. ''We will work closely with the employee representatives to find socially responsible solutions for the employees,'' said Dr. Horst-Tore Land, CEO of BASF Fuel Cell GmbH in Frankfurt.

In addition to the activities in Frankfurt and Somerset, BASF has operated a laboratory in Yokkaichi, Japan, since May 2008. This laboratory is responsible for the application-specific support of local customers.  

BASF is one of the leading suppliers for conventional fuel cell components. In an MEA - the heart of the fuel cell - hydrogen and air react to form water, simultaneously generating electrical power and heat. BASF markets MEAs under the brand name CeltecŪ and enables the fuel cell industry to meet the current and growing challenges of future energy supply.

Celtec high-temperature MEAs are used in numerous product applications, from private home electricity and heat supply units to backup systems to ensure electricity in the event of a power failure.