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AFC is a manufacturer of large-scale industrial fuel cells. This represents the largest sub-sector (stationary fuel cell applications) in a hydrogen economy that is internationally starting to gain momentum.

 

AFC Energy’s business model is to target the deployment of large-scale stationary fuel cell systems, this is evidenced by the Company’s 240kW KORE system in Germany and its discussions with partners internationally.

The building block of every AFC Energy fuel cell system is the 10kW stack. To this end, AFC’s system is capable of providing power solutions from as small as 10kW up to multi megawatts with the only difference being the associated Balance of Plant (BoP). It is the same basic fuel cell stack used in all systems.

 

10kW System

AFC Energy completed the design and basic engineering on a single cartridge 10kW system in July 2016 – Milestone 4 of the company’s published 2016 strategic milestones.

AFC Energy 10kW System

10kW Indicative Schematic (courtesy of plantIng GmbH)

Completion of AFC Energy’s 10kW system design and basic engineering included the conduct of a thorough examination of all safety aspects and functions of the system using the Hazard Operability (“HAZOP”) methodology for process hazard assessment.

The rationale for a smaller 10kW system is effectively three-fold:

  1. The 10kW system provides a low cost “entry option” for a prospective partner. Offering a smaller scale demonstration plant that may lead to a large scale investment by our partners is entirely consistent with the business model of the Company.
  2. The global energy market is moving towards off grid, distributed power models where power demand is often less than a “standard” 240kW KORE system, but open to pricing which is substantially higher than conventional wholesale power pricing. Diesel generation is one obvious example where fuel cells have the potential to displace existing plants. There are likely to be markets in the future where this could provide a niche role for AFC Energy.
  3. AFC Energy is already participating in an EU-funded project – the ALKAMMONIA project – for a single stack design.

Detailed engineering & procurement will now commence, ensuring the system will be capable of deployment in 2016.

 

240kW System

As part of the EU FCH JU funded POWER-UP project, AFC Energy installed its first 240kW “KORE” system in Stade, northern Germany in July 2015.

The KORE Balance of Plant fulfilled basic functional and safety operational requirements and achieved an initial power generation of 204kW in January 2016. Modification and upgrade options for the BoP have been identified to optimise the KORE operability and engineers are presently working to maximise the potential of the KORE system as a commercial product.

AFC Fuel cells

 

1MW System

AFC Energy plans to conclude the basic design and engineering on a 1MWe capacity fuel cell system, which is capable of deployment in 2017. This represents milestone 5 of the Company’s published 2016 milestones.

The concept engineering phase helps establish the design and operating principles of AFC Energy’s new large-scale system and is a necessary pre-requisite for the system’s basic design and engineering.  The product, which could be sized up to 1.2MWe across a containerised and modular system, is designed to be scalable dependant on customer specifications and is suitable for multi-megawatt installations. The design of this system builds upon the extensive experience accrued by  AFC Energy during project POWER- UP.

1MW Indicative Schematic

1MW Indicative Schematic (courtesy of plantIng GmbH)

 

The Global Fuel Cell Market

International Co-operation
Governments are increasingly globally co-ordinated in tackling climate change (e.g. the Paris Agreement) through the adoption of decarbonisation policy agendas – this is evidenced by the targeting of large-scale, efficient energy integration. Hydrogen storage solutions, when combined with electrolysis and AFC technology can potentially provide a significant hydrogen battery solution for integration with intermittent renewable energy sources.

National Government Policies
Governments are utilising fiscal incentive structures to prioritise the improved utilisation of limited resources. By-product hydrogen, vented as a waste product, is gaining increased scrutiny. For example, there is recognition of the need to significantly reduce oil-fired power generation in Saudi Arabia, with the utilisation of hydrogen from the petrochemical industry, with AFCs offering one such solution. Korea is also a firm advocate with fiscal incentives seeking to improve hydrogen utilisation.

Global Industry
Energy intensive sectors are increasingly exposed to government carbon policy and rising power prices. Many international industrial groups now seek cleaner, off grid and long-term affordable energy solutions. The use of by-product vented hydrogen through the adoption of fuel cells will enable industry to mitigate the risk of rising power prices and Government policy.

Overall fuel cell market growth 2014-2016:

Shipments by application

Shipments by application

 

Megawatts by application

Source: E4Tech (2016 is forecast).