The number of commercial enquiries received since announcing AFC Energy's EV fuel cell charger system, CH2ARGE, earlier this year has clearly demonstrated the potential for the company to capitalise on this growing market.
Adam Bond, chief executive
How it is doing
AFC's hydrogen fuel cells will have a low cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) compared to alternative generating systems, partially as a result of its ability to use lower quality and less expensive hydrogen sources.
Recently concluded trials have shown that AFC's proprietary fuel cell system can use "off the shelf" ammonia cracking technology, with little difference in performance compared to hydrogen sourced from industrial plants.
The company is also working with various leading clean-tech specialists to build on existing commercial activities and establish alternative distribution channels to accelerate future growth.
In November it raised £520,000 through a share subscription to help fund orders of its hydrogen electric vehicle charger, which is scheduled to launch in December.
AFC is one of the UK market leaders in what is becoming known as the hydrogen revolution, the development of technology that can transform hydrogen into a renewable energy source.
According to the Hydrogen Council, an industry group backed by companies such as BMW and Air Liquide, the hydrogen market could be worth around US$2.5trln by 2050 as part of a push to lower carbon emissions from transport and limit global warming to safer levels.
Hydrogen is seen as a key element of the UK government's recent announcement of a new target for the country to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, which was on the back of a strongly worded report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
With the electricity grid often at full stretch and the CCC estimating that all new cars and vans should be electric within 16 years, “there is no way the grid can cope with that amount of extra demand”, says Adam Bond, AFC's chief executive.
“Hydrogen is the only solution to meet the demand,” Bond said, “and that is why the climate change report mentioned it on almost every page.”
In November, AFC Energy unveiled four new brands as its inaugural product line of hydrogen power technologies.
HydroX-Cell(L) is a zero-emission, high efficiency and low-cost alkaline fuel cell utilising a liquid electrolyte configured in 10 kilowatts (kW) modules, to be used in large scale industrial applications utilising lower grades of hydrogen.
A similar fuel cell, HydroX-Cell(S), is also due to be marketed, although unlike the (L) model it is a high current density alkaline fuel cell and can be used in both mobile and stationary applications.
The third brand, H-Power, is a group of hydrogen power systems including an off-grid electric vehicle (EV) charger, while the fourth product, AlkaMem, is a range of anionic exchange polymer membranes, used to separate fuel reactants between two electrodes inside the cell.
AFC believes its HydroX-Cell(S) fuel cell can “compete favourably” with alternate proton exchange membrane (PEM) technologies in the market.
There has also been early interest in the AlkaMem membrane technology following tests by one of the world’s largest electrolyser manufacturers.
What the boss says: Adam Bond, chief executive
“Delivery of a high performing alkaline membrane-based fuel cell has been described by many leaders in the field as the "Holy Grail" of fuel cell technologies and we are very pleased to be at the forefront of this emerging disruptive technology.”
- HydroX (S) cells can compete favourably with existing fuel cell technologies believes AFC
- Systems can use low-grade hydrogen, which makes them cheaper and more efficient
- The market for Alkamem, which was "encouraged" by early market interest, is worth US$1bn a year