Hydrogen (H2) and fuel cell company Plug Power has acquired American Fuel Cell - a premier developer of Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) technology, the key catalyst for fuel cells to create power.

With this acquisition Plug Power gains innovative, leading edge MEA design capability coupled with specialized system knowledge for on-road applications. This acquisition accelerates the company’s expansion into the on-road industry, inclusive of delivery vehicle fleets that are increasingly utilising fuel cell or electric powertrains.

According to Plug Power, research firm Frost & Sullivan recently forecasted the electric truck market (global light, medium, and heavy-duty hybrid) to be on track to achieve annual sales of 2.25 million units by 2025. With the global push for cleaner solutions for transportation of goods and passengers, and targets for reduced emissions looming in the near future, solutions such as fuel cell powertrains will continue to grow in popularity, requiring extensive innovation in order to ensure that fuel cell technology capabilities continue to lead the market.

“The American Fuel Cell team is an unmatched group of bright thinkers who understand the potential of fuel cells in on-road applications. We’re looking forward to working together to create a cleaner, more efficient future as on-road applications grow, and electric fleet vehicles increasingly become the norm.”

Andy Marsh, Plug Power CEO

Fuel cells provide a unique opportunity to generate clean, efficient electricity coupled with high power density, extended range, and market-leading uptime due to rapid refuelling. American Fuel Cell’s highly skilled team of specialists, based in Rochester, New York, US, apply their years of experience from past positions at General Motors to drive system optimisation and MEA development, especially as it relates to on-road applications. The acquisition, although not financially material, expands Plug Power’s knowledge and technology base in this key sector.

American Fuel Cell’s CEO Daniel O’Connell said, “Joining Plug Power enables us to rapidly expand not only our research, development, and manufacturing efforts, but also provide a significant impact in the application of our commercially viable, innovative system solutions to product in the field.”

“Plug Power is not only a known innovator with a long-standing commitment to R&D, but the company also has incredible traction with large organisations seeking to identify and capitalise on creating efficiencies in their supply chain.”

“We’re excited to double-down on our product innovation, as well as see first-hand the immediate benefit companies worldwide can derive from the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology as part of their efficiency and clean energy efforts.”

Through this acquisition Plug Power will immediately have a facility in Rochester located in the Eastman Business Park, with all staff of AFC becoming Plug Power employees. This new office represents an expansion of Plug Power’s operations in its home state of New York, a presence that will continue to grow through 2018 and beyond.

“Each day, we see the role that fuel cells are playing in the increasingly electrified world evolve in a positive direction. At Plug Power we see demand increasing each month, and given our rich R&D legacy, we’re always looking for new technologies and teams that can help to grow our business and remain at the forefront of emerging fuel cell technology,” explained Andy Marsh, Plug Power’s CEO. “The American Fuel Cell team is an unmatched group of bright thinkers who understand the potential of fuel cells in on-road applications. We’re looking forward to working together to create a cleaner, more efficient future as on-road applications grow, and electric fleet vehicles increasingly become the norm.”