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Five minutes with ... Sebastian Goldner, CTO & COO of Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH
At the end of 2022, Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH officially announced that it would expand its commitment to Fürstenfeldbruck with a state-of-the-art, 13,500 m² production facility. The new part of the plant will be gradually expanded from the second quarter of 2023 and put into operation from 2024 to complement the existing site in Puchheim near Munich. This expansion – a sevenfold increase in production space compared to the company’s current buildings – will significantly increase the company’s manufacturing and testing capacities. Invest in Bavaria has supported Proton Motor Fuel Cell since 2022.
What exactly does Proton Motor Fuel Cell do and how do you stand out from other providers?
For a quarter of a century, Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH has been established as Europe's leading expert in climate-neutral energy solutions and is a specialist in this domain for emission-free and integration-ready hydrogen fuel cells developed and manufactured in-house. The internationally operating technology market leader with two locations near Munich is a wholly owned operating subsidiary of the UK parent company Proton Motor Power Systems plc.
By offering a complete one-stop solution, from fuel cell design and production to engineering for the ready-to-use application integration of premium products, the most suitable, economical and highest-quality energy solution is always generated for companies of all sizes and across all industries.
This year you are celebrating your 25th anniversary as one of the pioneers in the field of hydrogen fuel cells. What role does Bavaria play in business development?
Proton Motor is actively strengthening its hydrogen leadership position through solid alliances. Through regional, national and EU alliances, prominent challenges and interests surrounding hydrogen as an alternative energy carrier are continuously furthered with cooperations and joint ventures. In this context, the Free State of Bavaria serves as an ideal location for Proton Motor in terms of business and networking opportunities, as evidenced by the mentioned planned company expansion.
Since the last decade at least, Bavaria has gained an infrastructural lead in the hydrogen economy because innovative key technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells have received consistent support and funding. This ambitious agenda will be realised to a large extent through the implementation of competence centres and companies such as Bayern Innovativ, Invest in Bavaria or through Zentrum.Wasserstoff Bayern (H2.B), which was founded in Nuremberg in 2019, as well as through the promotion of high-profile H2 actors. These entities are crucial for successfully steering the energy transition.
From which support services in Bavaria have you been able to benefit so far and how have they influenced your growth?
The many years of support provided by Bayern Innovativ’s services have made Proton Motor’s development activities for hydrogen fuel cell technology stand out significantly. Apart from the opportunity for a joint presence at trade fairs, congresses and events, there were always support projects that initiated the transition from prototype design to market-specific standard products. Currently, there is also a cooperation with a Bavarian project partner in the maritime sector, which is being supported with funds from the Bavarian State Government.
Bayern International serves as the relevant point of contact for Proton Motor in global cooperation management. Likewise, by collaborating with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) for Munich and Upper Bavaria high added value is generated in the area of brand communication and multiplication. The emphasis on Invest in Bavaria’s influential offerings provided by the state of Bavaria as a globally operating market has played a prominent role for Proton Motor in the decision-making process regarding the second location. Invest in Bavaria’s professional services, coupled with a dedicated exchange and, in particular, the establishment of contacts with the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, are marked by an excellent quality of advisory services.
As mentioned earlier, you will be opening another location in Fürstenfeldbruck this year. What goals will you be pursuing in the near future at the Munich or Puchheim and Fürstenfeldbruck locations?
A brief digression: The policy objective of the federal and state governments is to be climate neutral by 2045. To achieve emission reductions, transformation processes are required that involve measures such as action plans, including the instrument of “Carbon Contracts for Difference”, primarily targeting industrial processes. As an established hydrogen fuel cell producer celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2023, Proton Motor welcomes all activities and agendas aimed at making Germany a technological leader in low-carbon key technologies.
“Bavaria as a location for business stands out for its high economic strength and continuous capacity for innovation. The dedicated promotion of new modern technology standards, such as Proton Motor’s hydrogen fuel cell products, allows for independent and sustainable energy solutions. This is how green sustainability is ensured to achieve the climate transformation.”
To expand its production capacities, Proton Motor is moving into a new modern production site in the greater Munich area. This milestone towards industrialisation and serialisation is a response to the rapid market growth. The sevenfold increase in production space in Fürstenfeldbruck compared to the current Puchheim headquarters speaks volumes about the importance of hydrogen and its related technologies, such as fuel cells, for energy security and the global fight against climate change. The intention is to increase annual production capacity to 4,000 fuel cell stacks and associated fuel cell systems. In the long term, a production capacity of up to 30,000 fuel cell stacks is envisioned, indicating not only a potentially cost-intensive investment risk but also an organic growth of employees forming the foundation of the strategic company roadmap.
Not only do your products contribute to combating global climate warming, but Proton Motor also prioritizes sustainable production as a company. What measures are you taking in this area?
We live by our slogan CLEANTECH COMPETENCE not only in our products, but also in production itself. The electrical and thermal energy generated during the production of the fuel cell stacks and systems is completely reused at the production site wherever possible. For example, the electrical energy is used to charge employees’ electric vehicles. Surplus energy can be fed back into the power grid and the thermal energy is available to heat the production halls in the cold season. At the new location in Fürstenfeldbruck, this is further reinforced by the use of solar power and geothermal energy.
Bavaria is very popular because of its high quality of life. Where do you prefer to relax in or around Munich?
I enjoy spending free time with my family at and in the lakes around the Bavarian capital as well as in the mountains of the Bavarian Pre-Alps. We are amazed by the diversity of the landscape and are always inspired by the flair of the metropolis of Munich.
Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH
Energy | Hydrogen fuel cells
In Bavaria since
Department represented in Bavaria