UK-based AFC Energy launched its H-Power electric vehicle (EV) charger based on alkaline hydrogen fuel cell technology. The self-contained charging system overcomes issues associated with poor grid coverage to provide rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging anywhere it is needed.
In the UK, a recent study commissioned by Scottish Power found that to meet EV deployment targets, almost £100 billion (US$131 billion) of new investment is required to upgrade the network and deploy dedicated EV charging stations throughout the country.
For fleet operators, commercial vehicles and even private and public car park operators, large scale rapid charging is a corporate necessity, which in instances cannot be met without localized grid upgrades. AFC Energy’s system is designed to meet these needs by delivering an EV charger that can be safely fueled using a variety of hydrogen sources while operating at optimum efficiency to enable rapid charging rates when and where it is required.
When containerised alongside existing and complimentary technology, the system forms part of a technology strategy enabling customers to map out a path to net-zero carbon emissions, while containing the cost of power and growing EV charging capability.
Mechanical and electrical components can be housed within an ISO container which is insulated and fitted with the environmental controls to allow operation in a wide range of climates without the odor or noise associated with diesel generators. The Modular AFC Energy H-Power systems will be available in three standard configurations which can provide up to 100 charge points to a single site.
To support the new system, hydrogen sourcing and auxiliary equipment is also available from third -party suppliers through AFC Energy for integration into the final product solution. AFC Energy can work with all EV charging platforms to provide its system as part of an integrated emission-free charging system.
Alkaline fuel cells (AFCs) were one of the first fuel cell technologies developed, and were used in the US space program to produce electrical energy and water on-board spacecraft. These fuel cells use a solution of potassium hydroxide in water as the electrolyte and can use a variety of non-precious metals as a catalyst at the anode and cathode. In recent years, novel AFCs that use a polymer membrane as the electrolyte have been developed. AFC offers both types.
By contrast, PEM fuel cells—used in fuel cell vehicle applications—use a solid polymer as an electrolyte and porous carbon electrodes containing a platinum or platinum alloy catalyst.
The high performance of AFCs is due to the rate at which electro-chemical reactions take place in the cell. They have also demonstrated efficiencies above 60% in space applications.
Alkaline fuel cells benefit from a wider fuel tolerance than other types of fuel cell. The AFC Energy HydroX-Cell(L) and HydroX-Cell(S) can accommodate:
- Hydrogen generated from cracked ammonia
- Hydrogen generated from water electrolysis
- Vented industrial hydrogen streams
- Hydrogen from reformed biogas
- Hydrogen from industrial gas merchants
Where practical, to support ease of logistics, AFC Energy is interested in on-site hydrogen generation for point-of-use consumption.
K. Kordesch M. Cifrain (2010) “A comparison between the alkaline fuel cell (AFC) and the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell” doi: 10.1002/9780470974001.f304065