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.
AFC Energy completed the design and basic engineering on a single cartridge 10kW system in July 2016. The system has since undergone extensive trials and thorough testing at the Covestro facility in Stade, Germany.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- AFC Energy is already participating in an EU-funded project – the ALKAMMONIA project – for a single stack design.
Detailed engineering & procurement will now commence, to enable commercialisation to begin.
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 Energy concluded the basic design and engineering on a 1MWe capacity fuel cell system in 2018 and is now in the process of working with engineers to enable deployment.
The concept engineering phase established the design and operating principles of AFC Energy’s new large-scale system and has laid the foundations for the system. The product, which could be sized up to 1.2MWe across a containerised and modular system, is designed to be scalable dependent 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 (courtesy of plantIng GmbH)
The Global Fuel Cell Market
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.
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
Megawatts by application
Source: E4Tech (2016 is forecast).