Ricardo and alkaline fuel cell company AFC Energy collaborate on hydrogen applications for marine, rail and stationary
Ricardo plc and AFC Energy plc, a leading provider of hydrogen power generation technologies, signed a collaboration agreement on the joint creation of hydrogen fuel cell product and service offerings, with an initial focus on marine, rail and stationary power generation. The collaboration will develop products and services that will directly support global efforts to decarbonize transport, energy and nationally critical infrastructure.
Ricardo has been providing advice to both industry and government clients on hydrogen strategies and technology development for more than 20 years. Combined with AFC Energy’s alkaline fuel cell technology platform, H-Power, the partnership will enable the design and delivery of high-quality and innovative solutions and explore new areas where both companies have a clear route to market.
The two companies have already jointly submitted proposals to energy network operators with a focus on addressing client needs related to strategic grid resilience and zero-emission alternative power.
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.
Source: AFC Energy
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 also 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; and hydrogen from industrial gas merchants.