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ABB Commits to Fuel Cell Powered Data Centers With Investment Into AFC Energy

By April 16, 2021 6   min read  (1162 words)

April 16, 2021 |

Fuel cells works, ABB Commits to Fuel Cell Powered Data Centers With Investment Into AFC Energy

AFC Energy (AIM: AFC), a leading provider of hydrogen power generation technologies, is pleased to announce ABB’s commitment in making a strategic investment into AFC Energy and to strengthen the corporate partnership by the entering into a new Development Agreement specifically relating to the burgeoning global data centre market. 

Highlights

  • ABB Schweiz AG invests £3.25 million into AFC Energy as a strong signal of corporate commitment across the international e-Mobility market. 
  • Investment follows the signing of commercial and product development agreements in December 2020 focussing on the design and engineering of an integrated high power EV charging systems, powered by AFC Energy fuel cells. 
  • ABB and AFC Energy sign new agreement to extend its partnership to now include the global data centre market, which currently consumes approx. 2% of worldwide power demand. 
  • ABB’s data centre power solutions currently support many of the world’s largest hyper data centre owners in their quest to achieve Net Zero emissions. 
  • With a strengthening commitment to sustainability and ESG targets, ABB and AFC Energy will be partnering on the trialling and integration of AFC Energy fuel cells as part of the wider power portfolio of modern-day data centres.     
  • Investment proceeds from ABB will support AFC Energy’s ongoing investment into the e-Mobility partnership and, from today, the international data centre solution market.

 Strategic Investment in High Power e-Mobility Charging Applications

As announced by AFC Energy earlier today, ABB has invested £3.25 million into the Company pursuant to a Subscription Agreement in support of the multiple partnering initiatives currently in place across the international e-Mobility sector.

In December 2020, AFC Energy and ABB signed a Commercialisation and Marketing Agreement in parallel with a Joint Product Development Agreement pertaining to the design and deployment of a next generation high power EV charging system utilising AFC Energy fuel cell technology.  Since this time, both companies have been working constructively towards delivery of an integrated charging system in the second half of 2021 and are already engaging with prospective customers on the new product range. 

ABB’s investment into AFC Energy demonstrates the corporate commitment both companies place in their e-Mobility partnership that seeks to set new standards in zero emission high power EV charging. 

ABB’s investment will contribute towards the prototyping, engineering, scale up in production capacity and growth across high power e-Mobility applications to meet a growing pipeline of customers in this fast-growing sector. 

New Partnering Opportunity secured in Global Data Centre Market

ABB and AFC Energy are pleased to announce the signing of a new Development Agreement to test, design and integrate AFC Energy’s alkaline fuel cell technology into ABB’s data centre system portfolio to provide a zero emission, sustainable turn-key power solution for the growing number of current and prospective data centres currently servicing the world’s data storage and processing requirements.

Over the past 25 years, ABB has been a key player in the design and delivery of innovative, efficient and sustainable data centre electrical solutions, working with many of the world’s largest hyperscale data centre operators to drive down energy consumption, improve security of power supply, whilst doing so in a more sustainable way.  Many of the hyperscale data centres that ABB work with have shown strong industry leadership in committing to zero emission targets over the coming years. 

While hydrogen-based fuel cells in data centre demonstrations is not new, positioning them as a commercially viable option could be enabled earlier through adoption of AFC Energy’s alkaline fuel cell solution, representing an important step in the decarbonation of data centres.

Today’s partnership confirms the potential role AFC Energy’s fuel cells can play as a key component of ABB’s overall data centre power solution.   

Within the Development Agreement, the two companies will partner in the assessment of data centre power design principles and system operability, reviewing interfaces between fuel cell, energy storage, electrical equipment, switchgear and control infrastructure. Testing using real time data centre simulation techniques will be adopted.  The work is expected to be conducted during the course of 2021 with likely engagement with the data centre industry throughout.    

It is expected that once demonstrated, the alkaline fuel cell system will form an integral part of the portfolio of technologies available to ABB in meeting its data centre customer requirements and therefore provides a strong route to market for AFC Energy’s fuel cell platform in this sector.  

The agreements, which do not involve licensing ABB or AFC Energy’s background technology, reflect a commercial model for system deployment leveraging the mutual capabilities of both companies working in partnership.  There is no exclusivity afforded to either company under the agreements. 

Frank Muehlon, Head of ABB’s global business for E-mobility Infrastructure Solutions at ABB, in relation to the investment into AFC Energy, said: “The investment in AFC Energy brings an opportunity to further the advancement of technologies that can ultimately enable a wider reach to remote off-grid locations. AFC Energy’s goals to deliver clean energy solutions perfectly align with ABB’s commitment to innovation and enabling low carbon societies, making them an ideal solution partner“.

Brian Johnson, Global Data Centre Leader at ABB, in relation to the data centre Development Agreement, said: “Embarking on this new collaboration with AFC Energy opens the possibility to integrate its impressive fuel cell technology with ABB’s strong data centre solutions. Partnering with like-minded companies such as AFC Energy further supports ABB’s dedication to delivering cutting-edge technologies to help data center customers meet their sustainability goals through a multi-fuel approach.”

Adam Bond, Chief Executive Officer at AFC Energy, said: “We are delighted that our partnership with ABB continues to expand into new and emerging fields such as e-Mobility and data centres. Through the investment made into AFC Energy today, we are confident that ABB’s position in these sectors will be further enhanced by the integration of our leading alkaline fuel cell technology.  We continue to receive strong customer enquiries into our partnership from all over the world, confirming we are working with the right partners, on the right technology, at the right time to support society’s accelerated drive towards a more sustainable world”. 

About AFC Energy

AFC Energy plc is commercialising a scalable alkaline fuel cell system, to provide clean electricity for on and off grid applications. The technology, pioneered over the past twelve years in the UK, is now deployable in electric vehicle chargers, off-grid decentralised power systems and industrial gas plants as part of a portfolio approach to the decarbonisation of local electricity needs.

 About ABB

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 110,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. www.abb.com 

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