AFC Energy plc (AFC.L), the industrial fuel cell power company, is pleased to announce that it has successfully achieved the penultimate Milestone 10 in its 2015 POWER-UP programme. It achieved Milestone 10 by commencing temporary operation of an entire tier of eight fuel cell cartridges on the KORE system where it achieved a maximum output from the tier of just over 40kWe.
The eight fuel cell cartridges used in this Milestone 10 trial will also be used to test the second and third tiers of the system in the coming weeks. This will require that they are cycled (switched on and off) many times. In order to preserve their effective operational longevity for the further testing, they were therefore not run to full capacity in this latest test, nor for an extended time period.
Each tier (there are three in total) within the KORE fuel cell system is capable of operating independently of the other so the successful operation of a single tier of eight cartridges is a significant further de-risking of the system and in particular the Balance of Plant.
The eight cartridges will soon be installed into each of the remaining two tiers to test the operational capability of the rest of the system before the final milestone of 240kWe is trialled in December 2015. At this stage, AFC is confident that the learnings gained from this trial, both in terms of the fuel cell cartridges and the Balance of Plant, together with the infrastructure to connect the system to the grid, will greatly support the delivery of Milestone 11 in December 2015.
The latest trial has helped demonstrate:
The KORE fuel cell system is capable, on a tier level (comprising eight fuel cell cartridges), of operating in an industrial environment, to deliver acceptable power output over the test period, for dispatch into the power grid.
The power conditioning infrastructure to facilitate feeding energy into the grid has now been further tested with power supplied into the grid with further work identified in preparation for the 240kWe full commissioning.
The safety, integrity and operability of the fuel cell stack is confirmed over the test period, when operating in series across a single tier of eight fuel cell cartridges.
This achievement, executed in accordance with the ambitious timeline set in December 2014, gives AFC further confidence in the commencement of the final phase trial (Milestone 11) at Stade, scheduled to be accomplished by year end.
The Company’s alkaline fuel cell technology, implemented in this prototype installation, will continue to be further validated by collecting operating data over the coming months and importantly, following full commissioning of the system scheduled for December 2015, in preparation for achieving AFC’s strategic goals for developing several projects in the international power market within 2016, supported by key project partners.
Mr Adam Bond, AFC’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “When we sat down in December 2014 to devise an aggressive roadmap for the deployment of our first industrial scale fuel cell in Germany, we knew there would be challenges and obstacles we would need to overcome in order to achieve our goals. But to continue to hit our targets and deliver on our commitments almost 12 months into the programme is a testament to the technology and to our team”.
Mr Bond further commented: “We are edging increasingly closer to delivery of a commercial scale fuel cell system capable of deployment across a range of markets we are focussing on. We will continue to push hard to achieve these ambitious goals and ensure the system we take to market achieves not only short term operational success, but also longevity, safety and stability of power supply across the life of project. Our programme of work for the remainder of this year and into the next will focus on these points. However, the announcement today should provide confidence and strong support to our ability to reach these goals”.