AFC Energy plc (LON:AFC), a leading provider of hydrogen power generation technologies, has announced the launch of its dedicated Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) Fuel Cell test facility hosted at the Company’s Surrey headquarters in the United Kingdom.
· AFC’s high energy-dense fuel cell technology, HydroX-Cell(S), has been strengthened by the launch of a world class AEM fuel cell testing and diagnostic facility in the UK.
· Design of the new dedicated AEM fuel cell facility was completed in the second half of 2020 with full fit out now complete in advance of full operation.
· The “S” Series AEM hydrogen fuel cell, once complete, will create the option for heavy motive applications to deploy alkaline chemistry fuel cells in marine, rail and other heavy motive applications, with cost benefits derived particularly from low capital cost and fuel flexibility.
· The AEM facility will enhance the timely feedback in performance of the AlkaMem® anion exchange membrane in fuel cell applications, further enhancing our development of the membrane for use in other markets.
· The new facility will also support AFC’s work in the integration of an in-house developed anionic conducting ionomer within the AEM electrode which offers higher ion exchange capacity, and therefore improved fuel cell performance.
· Pilot fabrication processes for the production of Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEA) are now fully established within AFC Energy and the fabrication method enables consistent MEA production.
· These advancements support the “S” Series Fuel Cell technology remaining on target for initial release in late 2022.
The company has continued to make positive steps along its roadmap to release of a pre commercial prototype of its new, high power density HydroX-Cell(S)TM fuel cell system. It has maintained the progress in the development of its AlkaMemTM anion exchange membrane during Q3 / Q4 2020 despite some challenges arising due to impacts caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the June 2020 update the Company’s has designed and today launches its new HydroX-Cell(S)TM Fuel Cell research facility to support the rapid work scheduled to meet our development plans.
Initial design work has concluded on the stack design for the “S” Series AEM fuel cell based upon our scaled up MEA. Final build of this unit will be completed in April and will provide the set-up needed to validate the design criteria for the modular 10 kW HydroX-Cell(S)TM fuel cell stack. The Company has stated its plans to release early commercial scale HydroX-Cell(S)TM stacks to the market in late 2022 and remains on track to achieve this timeline.
The work being undertaken on AlkaMem has been equally pleasing in terms of the developments made; whether in relation to enhancing membrane mechanical strength, improving the performance and stability of our ionomer, meeting the challenge of producing consistent MEAs or tuning the preparation steps to enable a range of membrane thicknesses to be offered. These developments by the team have maintained the pace needed to achieve our end objectives.
Adam Bond, Chief Executive Officer of AFC Energy, said:
“Our new world class AEM hydrogen fuel cell research facility cements AFC Energy at the cutting edge of arguably the world’s most promising, low cost, high energy dense fuel cell technology. We continue to believe this platform will compete head on with incumbent high energy dense fuel cells in the market today such as PEM technologies both on cost and performance, but with all the benefits of our proprietary alkaline chemistry.”