AFC Energy, the industrial fuel cell company, has confirmed the receipt of its first commercial order in Australia for its proprietary hydrogen (H2) power generation unit from refiner, Southern Oil Refining Pty Ltd.
Northern Oil’s advanced biofuel refinery near Gladstone, is currently operating to convert several waste streams into renewable crude, before refining it into 100% certified renewable fuel. The Advanced Biofuels Refinery, supported by the Australian Government, Queensland Government and ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency), is a world first and within its operation, will require large volumes of industrially stable, renewable biohydrogen to support the refining process.
Northern Oil, is developing a new H2 generation technology to complement its refining process. The technology utilises Steam Over Iron Reduction and Chemical Looping processes to deliver cheaper and more efficient H2 than conventional Steam Methane Reformation (SMR). Northern Oil is building a large industrial scale pilot plant where surplus H2 generated from the system is to be made available for consumption within a fuel cell.
In October 2017, Southern Oil and AFC Energy entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding. Through this collaboration, Southern Oil has now placed an order with AFC Energy for a H2 power generation unit utilising AFC Energy’s proprietary fuel cell system that will enable the supply of clean power back into the refining process.
The power generated, expected to be between 200kW and 400kW in capacity (dependent upon the final volume of H2 made available from the refinery), is expected to be at a lower cost than with that of existing regional grid tariffs in Queensland, Australia.
The AFC Energy fuel cell system is expected to be delivered to Northern Oil’s Gladstone facility in the first half of 2019.
Tim Rose, Southern Oil’s CEO, said, ”Southern Oil has at its heart a desire to develop new and innovative ways of generating clean fuels for Australia’s future. The placement of today’s order with AFC Energy for one of its H2 power generation units is the next phase of our commitment to a green and clean future through the generation of clean power from our surplus H2 streams. The potential to drive our renewable refinery increasingly off grid and towards green power consumption is a key driver for today’s order and we look forwards to working closely with AFC Energy in delivering a successful outcome for this project. In developing the Gladstone Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant over the last three years, Southern Oil, has benchmarked cutting edge renewable technologies from around the world. In my mind, AFC Energy’s Alkaline Fuel Cell has great potential.”
Adam Bond, AFC Energy’s CEO, said, “With a global estimated 100,000MWe of H2 vented to atmosphere from industry each year, I am particularly delighted to confirm AFC Energy’s strategic collaboration with Southern Oil, a highly respected and entrepreneurial Australian clean fuels refiner with a strong track record of delivery. The order received for the company’s fuel cell system reflects the first stages of a growing pipeline of commercial fuel cell projects in country and validates the opportunities we believe to be emerging in the Australian H2 market. Today’s order from Southern Oil is a strong validation of the progression AFC Energy has made over the past few years and provides a strong cornerstone in the company’s commercialisation activities that are well underway.”