Extreme E and AFC Energy Unveil Pioneering Hydrogen Fuel Cell System for 2021 Championship

By January 28, 2021 7   min read  (1352 words)

January 28, 2021 |

fuel cells works, extreme e, afc energy, hydrogen

Today, Extreme E and AFC Energy unveil the Hydrogen fuel cell power system that will be used to sustainably charge the Championship’s ODYSSEY 21 electric SUVs in its inaugural season of racing. 

xtreme E and AFC Energy Unveil Pioneering Hydrogen Fuel Cell System for 2021 Championship 1

The AFC Energy designed and built system will highlight to Extreme E’s global audience the vast potential for today’s newest clean power technologies to displace polluting diesel generators, to which a large quantity of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed.

Engineered to withstand some of the world’s harshest environmental conditions, AFC Energy’s specially modified fuel cell system will power vehicles across five continents in Extreme E’s first season, including race locations in the Arctic, Amazon Rainforest, Sahara Desert and the heights of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

Following six months of collaborative engineering with Extreme E’s utilities team, the fuel cell system has undergone a month of intensive commissioning in January at AFC Energy’s Surrey assembly facility, alongside battery management systems and vehicle charging infrastructure testing.  Following inspection by its Engineering team, it is now set for handover to Extreme E’s logistics team for shipping to the Season’s first race in Saudi Arabia.

xtreme E and AFC Energy Unveil Pioneering Hydrogen Fuel Cell System for 2021 Championship 2Race organisers and teams, including teams run by current Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton (X44), former Champions Nico Rosberg (Rosberg Xtreme Racing) and Jenson Button (JBXE), alongside high profile well-established teams including Andretti United and Chip Ganass i Racing, will charge their ODYSSEY 21 vehicles using electricity generated by AFC Energy’s fuel cell power system.  This in turn will inspire people, companies, and governments to consider how clean power generation, such as that found in fuel cell technology, can be utilised to urgently respond to the challenges brought on by climate change.

With broadcast deals in place with Sky and BBC (UK), Discovery (Europe), Fox Sports (US, Canada and the Caribbean) and a host of others, the series will have an estimated global TV audience of over 200 million people to highlight the environmental challenge and to showcase the technology used by the series.

AFC Energy will now move to the integration and delivery of Extreme E’s upstream green hydrogen fuelling solution which will be delivered to the championship over the forthcoming months.

The system will be transported for shipping via the St. Helena, ahead of its first race, the Desert X-Prix in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, on the 3rd and 4th of April.  A small number of AFC Energy staff will travel to the first race in early April to monitor and maintain the performance of the H-Power system over the race weekend.  The system will then subsequently be deployed to its four other races across the remainder of the year, including Dakar, Senegal (29-30 May), Kangerlussuaq, Greenland (28-29 August), Santorem, Brazil (23-24 October) and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina (11-12 December).

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “Hydrogen fuel cell charging in the world of motorsport is truly ground breaking, and Extreme E is the first event of its kind to utilise this technology. The product from AFC Energy offers an end-to-end emission free solution for running our electric vehicles and I hope it will inspire other organisations to investigate sustainable low emission alternatives when running their events.

“The sign-off from the team is a real milestone for Extreme E, and I’m looking forward to seeing the hydrogen fuel cell in action at our first race in Saudi Arabia in just a couple of months’ time. It has not been easy to get where we are today, but the team has been more determined than ever to make Extreme E a reality because the climate crisis isn’t on hold for anyone or anything.”

Adam Bond, Chief Executive Officer at AFC Energy, said: “Hydrogen continues to gain momentum as a viable worldwide platform that affords a key solution to the decarbonisation of sectors where electrification and grid infrastructure is absent.  Extreme E’s vision to use motorsport as a platform to introduce new technologies, such as fuel cell technology, to support this goal is to be congratulated and AFC Energy is very proud to be associated with such a landmark initiative.

“The past few months have delivered many new challenges in meeting the robust specifications of the first Extreme E season to account for the range of conditions in each of its five rounds, and today’s unveiling reflects a strong collaborative effort from both organisations.  Our collaboration with Extreme E provides an incredible global platform to highlight the deployment of our robust, innovative zero-emission system that will ultimately support the decarbonisation of incumbent off-grid power systems across a number of global industries including maritime, rail and construction.

“I look forward to Extreme E and AFC Energy’s teams working closely together to make the championship a success in 2021 whilst properly highlighting the climate change challenges faced by different ecosystems to encourage global decarbonisation.”


  • Extreme E’s radical new all electric off-road racing series aims to highlight the impact of climate change on some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems.
  • In July 2020, Extreme E and AFC Energy entered a world first collaboration to power Season 1 race vehicles through adoption of the Company’s proprietary, zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell technology.
  • Following six months of collaborative engineering and design, AFC Energy’s Hydrogen power generator has been successfully commissioned, on schedule, and is to be handed over to Extreme E this week.
  • Inspected in person by Extreme E’s engineering team, the fuel cell system has been configured to operate across desert, arctic and high-altitude locations, producing enough power over a race weekend to electrify 2,000 homes.
  • Extreme E and AFC Energy’s partnership will showcase to a worldwide audience of over 200 million the potential for Hydrogen to afford a viable alternative to polluting diesel generators.
  • The fuel cell system will now be transported to Extreme E’s floating centrepiece, St. Helena, for shipment to the championship’s first race in AlUla, Saudi Arabia for the Desert X-Prix on the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of April.

About AFC Energy plc

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 Extreme E

Extreme E is a radical new racing series, which will see electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race global voyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most remote locations and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.

To minimise local impact, Extreme E races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead invited to follow the action through live TV broadcast, and on social media.

The St. Helena, a former passenger cargo ship, has undergone a multi-million Euro refit to minimise emissions and transform her into Extreme E’s operations hub. The ship will be used to transport the championship’s freight and infrastructure, including vehicles, to the nearest port, minimising Extreme E’s footprint, as well as being used to facilitate scientific research through its on-board laboratory.Extreme E is also pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology which will enable its race fleet to be charged using zero emission energy. This innovative solution from AFC Energy uses water and sun to generate hydrogen power. Not only will this process emit no greenhouse emissions, its only by-product will be water, which will be utilised elsewhere on-site.

Season 1 Calendar:

Desert X Prix: AlUla, Saudi Arabia
3-4 April 2021
Ocean X Prix: Lac Rose, Senegal
29-30 May 2021
Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
28-29 August 2021
Amazon X Prix: Para, Brazil
23-24 October 2021
Glacier X Prix: Patagonia, Argentina
11-12 December 2021 

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