AFC Energy form strategic partnership with ABB


AFC Energy plc (LON:AFC), a leading provider of hydrogen power generation technologies, has announced the signing of a strategic partnership with ABB, a world leader in electrification and digitalisation technologies, operating in over 100 countries


● ABB and AFC Energy to develop and launch a bespoke high power EV charging product for distribution through ABB’s market channels from the second half of 2021. 

● ABB entered the EV-charging market in 2010, and to date has sold more than 17,000 ABB DC fast chargers across 80 countries .

● The strategic partnership aims to leverage respective company technologies with regards AFC Energy’s zero emission, high efficiency fuel cell technology alongside ABB’s energy storage and market leading DC high power EV charge points. 

● Each company is to invest into a Commercialisation and Marketing Agreement, and Joint Product Development Agreement to showcase the supply of secure, reliable and flexible on-site power generation in ultra-rapid EV charging. 

● Global EV charging market is expected to exceed US$140bn by 2030 with power network upgrades necessary to facilitate this level of deployment forecast to exceed £50bn in the UK alone. 

AFC Energy today announces the signing of the Company’s first strategic collaboration with a global OEM, ABB, a leading provider of electric vehicle charge points, electrification and digitalisation technologies.  The suite of agreements that underpin the strategic partnership consist of a Commercialisation and Marketing Agreement and a Joint Product Development Agreement. 

The Commercialisation and Marketing Agreement will focus efforts on the joint marketing and deployment of integrated high power EV charging systems across key ABB markets including:

● Private vehicle hubs;

● Charge point operators;

● Logistics hubs and distribution centres;

● Public and private urban transportation (including bus depots);

● Marine (including port and marina charging); and

● Vertical Take off and Landing Craft (VTOLs).

Under the agreements, AFC Energy is afforded a Right of First Refusal across multiple years, to supply H-PowerTM fuel cell systems into ABB’s high power EV charging network of international customers where customer or site power demands are absent or require further resilience. 

Both companies will jointly market the integrated product across the key addressable markets and will collaboratively develop a communications strategy for system branding and deployment. 

The Joint Product Development Agreement defines the activities to be undertaken jointly by ABB and AFC Energy in designing principles of system operability, proof of concept testing and productization ready for customer sales. The final stage of work under the JPDA is expected to be competed in the second half of 2021. 

The JPDA will deliver a fully autonomous, high power EV charging system capable of deployment in the UK, Europe, United States and elsewhere, building on the system launched by AFC Energy in December 2019 and showcased across the UK earlier this year. 

ABB, having deployed a sizable market share for its rapid DC charge points across more than 80 countries, is increasingly engaged with its customer base to address the lack of power available from grid connections as the charge rate of EV charging infrastructure increases.  These challenges, based on assessments from ABB and AFC Energy, suggest that once system utilisation starts to exceed a relatively modest level through the rapid growth in EVs, the use of batteries as a mere buffer between grid and vehicle fall short of customer expectations. 

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The JPDA stems from several months of discussion between the two companies regarding the technology and market for ultra-rapid EV charging infrastructure and the inherent grid challenges that exist across several of these use cases. 

The system will provide a secure, efficient, flexible and reliable local power supply, with zero emissions, leveraging at first the AFC Energy HydroX-Cell(L) series of fuel cell systems, and then adding the higher power density “S” series of fuel cells when launched in late 2022. 

With this collaboration comes the ability to quickly scale up and further reduce costs, validating the recent investments made by AFC Energy into large scale manufacturing of fuel cell stacks and systems, consolidating the role of alkaline systems as a preferred hydrogen based technology in distributed power generation.

ABB provides an immediate global footprint for large scale deployment of the AFC Energy fuel cell in high power EV charging applications. The DC fast charging system will have applications for commercial and logistics carriers, marine and urban transport. Sustainable solutions are also being developed for other growing segments like data centers and utilities to enable optimized carbon footprint

The agreements do not license ABB or AFC Energy’s background technology and reflects a commercial model for system deployment leveraging the mutual capabilities of both companies working in partnership.  There is no exclusivity afforded to either company under the agreements. 

Frank Muehlon, Head of ABB’s global business for E-mobility Infrastructure Solutions at ABB , said: “ABB has led the way in e-mobility solutions and is proud to have played a key role in driving EV adoption rates across the world. This partnership with AFC Energy allows us to continue to push the boundaries of e-mobility, specifically targeting off-grid applications and thus enabling a much wider reach of e-mobility based on clean energy.

“At ABB we believe that sustainable development means progress towards a healthier and more prosperous world today and for future generations. It is through innovative applications of technology such as this partnership with AFC Energy that we can enable a low-carbon society. AFC Energy is uniquely positioned with their cost effective alkaline based fuel cell technology, which makes it a perfect match.”

Adam Bond, Chief Executive Officer at AFC Energy, said  “Today marks an historic milestone in the commercialisation of our proprietary hydrogen fuel cell as we commence a long-term relationship with ABB.  As one of the world’s leading suppliers of rapid EV charging infrastructure, this strategic partnership is fully aligned with AFC Energy’s go to market strategy with ABB providing strong and credible access to key customer channels both in Europe and overseas”. 

“Our strategic partnership with ABB will bring to market a unique, zero emission solution that brings together world leaders in electrification and alkaline fuel cell technologies to support and enable deployment of future high power EV charging infrastructure as a key step along the way to the full decarbonisation of mobility and transport across the globe as we continue to drive down costs and further increase manufacturing scale underwritten by emerging global market opportunities”.

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