AFC Energy has announced that the creation of energy from the world’s largest alkaline fuel cell system at Air Products industrial gas plant in Stade, Germany, will be online 18-months earlier than anticipated – in December 2015.

The project, supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking), provides an opportunity for AFC Energy to demonstrate for the first time the ability of the company’s alkaline fuel cell system (the “KORE”) to achieve technical performance parameters reflective of an operational commercial facility.

POWER-UP reflects the final phase of AFC Energy’s pre-commercialisation technical development programme and creates the platform for the company’s global commercial fuel cell deployment.

A detailed assessment of the POWER-UP programme over the last week has identified an opportunity to accelerate the date for commercial fuel cell demonstration of the KORE at its full design specification (expected to be 240kW) to the end of 2015; an acceleration of over 18 months. This will largely be achieved by;

1. Placing emphasis on achieving maximum output from the fuel cells in order to demonstrate the operability of the KORE. In parallel, AFC Energy will further refine its leading fuel cell technology such that once KORE design validation is achieved, the KORE will be operated with fuel cells designed to achieve high power and increased longevity.  

2. Rapid deployment of the Company’s in-line volume fuel cell fabrication processes that will enable AFC Energy to produce more fuel cells in 2015 than was originally anticipated.

There are a number of risks to the achievement of this ambitious schedule, all of which are normal for a project of this nature, including those relating to the successful phased delivery of the technical programme, logistical matters out of the control of AFC Energy, including project permitting and achievement of construction timelines agreed with EPCM contractors, and connection of the KORE to the grid which was not part of the original POWER-UP proposal.

In order to achieve the revised POWER-UP programme, AFC Energy is pleased to announce that this week, a contract was executed with Artelia, a leading European engineering, consulting and project management firm, and their sub-contractors, PlantIng, a leading German process engineering consultancy, for the undertaking of all engineering and design works associated with the delivery of the POWER-UP programme on site in Stade. This work has now commenced and is due to conclude with a facility capable of accepting the KORE in May 2015 (subject to permitting).

Adam Bond, AFC Energy’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “Delivery of the KORE and POWER-UP programme is essential to the validation of AFC Energy’s leading alkaline fuel cell technology. There is a lot of work still to be done before we are able to confirm achievement of our POWER-UP objectives, however, an operational reference project by the end of next year will significantly accelerate our plans for commercial deployment and market penetration.”

He further stated, “I have been greatly impressed by the enthusiasm of AFC Energy’s technical team to identify opportunities to fast track the delivery of the KORE and POWER-UP by reducing the expected time for operation of the 240kW KORE module by 18 months. I believe this demonstrates the strong drive and focus that exists within AFC Energy to see commercial-scale fuel cells operating in the global market place as soon as possible following conclusion of the pre-commercialisation phase of development work.”