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AFC Energy (LON:AFC) revealed this morning it had commissioned and commenced operation of its KORE fuel cell system at its site in Stade, Germany, and is on target to for full commercial scale electricity output late this year.
Chief executive Adam Bond hailed the landmark as “one of the proudest moments in AFC’s history”.
In fact, it is the culmination of a decade’s investment and development work on the revolutionary fuel cell system, which generates power using surplus hydrogen from chemical production.
Last week the Air Products facility hit peak production of 7.56 kilowatts – in line with expectations.
Crucially, this was using just one cartridge, when, initially, it had been expected to use two to achieve this total.
AFC said this was “good news” that further validated the huge potential of the technology.
The latest landmark is step nine in the company’s 11-point POWER-UP strategic plan, which should see the company producing 240 kilowatts of electricity by the year-end.
CEO Bond told investors: “This is a remarkable achievement delivered in record time and in a first class collaborative effort across all involved.
“On a personal level, I wish to extend my sincere thanks and congratulations to all the staff at AFC who have worked tirelessly and remained focussed over the past seven months on delivering something truly significant and establishing the platform for the commercialisation of this world leading alkaline fuel cell technology.”
AFC’s technology has its roots in the space race of the 1960s and a repurposed croissant maker is used in the manufacturing process.
The method of generating electricity it has developed works a little like a large alkali battery, and it is versatile in being able to use hydrogen created from, for example, chlorine production, biomass and coal.
Indeed, it has worked with Dutch chemicals giant AkzoNobel to turn waste hydrogen from chlorine production into electricity.
To date, the firm has spent £30-£35mln getting the technology to the stage it is today – on the cusp of being commercial.
This, Bond reckons, is some achievement, given that billions have been spent industry-wide for little tangible (and profitable) return.
"With some of the announcements made over the last six to seven months we are certainly getting a global profile both for the technology and what the company has to offer," the CEO told Proactive Investors.
"I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little more attention given to it as a low carbon, clean energy solution."
The shares, up 470% in the year to date, added 2.4% in afternoon trade and were changing hands for 57.85p each, valuing the business at £166mln.