AFC Energy plc (AFC.L) has announced the successful trial of its first 51 cell stack cartridge at an industrial gas plant facility in Germany.
• AFC’s first 51 fuel cell stack successfully trialled at an industrial gas plant facility in Germany
• Operational baseline performance of 51 cell stack in BETA cartridge achieved
• Time taken to achieve fuel cell operating temperature from ambient delivered in four hours (target of less than 12 hours)
• Next trial of 101 cell stack scheduled for February - March
• Acceleration of POWER-UP programme remains on track
The successful trial of the 51 cell stack affirms delivery of the third key milestone in the 2015 POWER-UP programme (as articulated in AFC’s RNS of 8 December 2014) and therefore, reaffirms AFC’s confidence in the deliverability of the fast track execution timetable for delivery of the 240kW KORE fuel cell system scheduled for the second half of 2015.
The trial, which operated continuously for a period of approximately two weeks, focussed on the major challenge of scaling-up of the AFC fuel cell stack (from 25 to 51 fuel cells) and in particular, the management of the additional heat generated in order to avoid thermal over-run of the cell.
Traditionally, as in other solid membrane electrolyte fuel cell types, the scaling up of the cartridge needs extra heat management strategies, such as the incorporation of additional coolant circuits within the fuel cell stack. Thanks to AFC’s liquid electrolyte in its alkaline fuel cells, this 51 fuel cell trial has confirmed the ability for the liquid to act in a dual function (ionic transport and heat management carrier) which again simplifies the overall design and lowers its cost without adding complexity into the system.
Utilizing AFC’s self-heating strategy, the “heat-up” time for the fuel cell, from ambient temperature, has been further shortened in this trial to ~ 4 hours. It is expected that with further increases in power, this time will be further shortened.
Adam Bond, AFC’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Achievement of the 51 fuel cell stack, which is now only half of the commercial scale 101 fuel cell cartridge designed for the KORE, is a massive step forward in the commercialization of AFC’s leading fuel cell technology. We are continuing to assess the results of this trial and incorporate the learnings into the next phase of the 101 cell stack scheduled for February - March. Importantly, we remain on track to deliver the 240kW KORE system by the end of 2015.”