Sweden, Volvo Group and Partners to Invest $26M in Powercell Sweden AB to Advance Volvo Fuel Cell APU Work
|Powercell Sweden power generation unit. Click to enlarge.|
The Swedish Energy Agency and the Volvo Group, in partnership with international corporations Midroc and OCAS, are investing SEK 200 million (US$26 million) to accelerate Volvo’s introduction of fuel cell APUs (auxiliary power units) into the market.
The Volvo Group, through its company Volvo Technology Transfer, will receive investment from the companies Midroc New Technology and OCAS, as well as from the Swedish Energy Agency. The parties will make a joint investment of SEK 200 million in Powercell Sweden AB in Gothenburg. Powercell Sweden is currently owned by Volvo Technology Transfer but following the investment, Volvo will be a minority owner.
Powercell Sweden was formed in 2005 as a joint venture between AB Volvo and Statoil ASA. The company is targeting the development of fuel cell Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) in the range of 5-10 kW for heavy-duty trucks and other high-tech niche markets. The primary market sectors for PowerCell are the European and North American truck markets, with a focus on trucks larger than 20 tons.
|Powercell stack. Click to enlarge.|
Powercell Sweden’s technology is based on two patented components: a fuel converter (reformer) and a PEM fuel cell stack. The autothermal reformer, developed by OWI (Oel Waerme Institut) in Aachen, produces hydrogen gas from biofuels such as ethanol, DME (Dimethyl ether), biogas, methanol and biodiesel, but also from regular diesel or gasoline. The PEM fuel cell, developed at Volvo, then converts the hydrogen gas into electricity.
The PEM technology features highly robust stacks due to the innovative flow field, as well as enhanced CO tolerance.
Thanks to our reformer technology we are now ready to start our production without having to wait for an infrastructure for the distribution of hydrogen gas. This is truly a major step in the development of fuel cells.—Per Wassén, Investment Director at Volvo Technology Transfer and chairman of Powercell Sweden AB
Volvo Technology Transfer, a subsidiary of the Volvo Group, develops and supports new business that is relevant to the Volvo Group. This includes investing in companies and projects that are of strategic, technical and commercial interest.
Midroc New Technology, a part of Midroc Europe, develops and invests in future technologies within Clean Tech and BioMed. Midroc is owned by Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi who among other companies owns Preem Petroleum, Swedish Petroleum Exploration and Västra Hamnen Funds.
OCAS is an advanced market-driven material research center based in Belgium. OCAS’ part in the investment is taken up by its sister company, the investment fund Finindus. OCAS will support Powercell Sweden with the development and optimizing of materials and their implementations.
The Swedish Energy Agency’s portion of the investment comprises a loan of SEK 30 million for three years.