AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) is one of the UK market leaders in what is becoming known as the hydrogen revolution, the development of technology that can transform hydrogen into a renewable energy source.
According to the Hydrogen Council, an industry group backed by companies such as BMW and Air Liquide, the hydrogen market could be worth around US$2.5trln by 2050 as part of a push to lower carbon emissions from transport and limit global warming to safer levels.
Hydrogen is seen as a key element of the UK government's recent announcement of a new target for the country to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, which was on the back of a strongly worded report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
With the electricity grid often at full stretch and the CCC estimating that all new cars and vans should be electric within 16 years, “there is no way the grid can cope with that amount of extra demand”, says Adam Bond, AFC's chief executive.
“Hydrogen is the only solution to meet the demand,” Bond said, “and that is why the climate change report mentioned it on almost every page.”
How it is doing
The firm expects the momentum seen in 2020, when it moved into the commercial phase, to continue in 2021 as well.
Its achievements in the 12 months just gone were evident in its first contracts – totalling more than £1mln and already generating income.
Underlining confidence in the business, meanwhile, was an oversubscribed £31.6mln fundraiser. This will help it major deliver projects, aid the development of the new H-Power systems and fund manufacturing scale-up.
One of the projects, work on the off-road electric car racing series, Extreme E, will feature the aforementioned H-Power system as primary power supply, showcasing its potential. The rally is slated to launch in early 2021.
AFC said it is working with leading manufacturers to roll out the technology in the field of integrated off-grid power and ultra-rapid electric vehicle charging solutions.
On that note, in December AFC signed a strategic partnership with Swiss electrical systems giant ABB to develop products for the electric vehicle charger market.
The non-exclusive agreement will see the two companies work together to develop a bespoke high power EV charger that will be sold through ABB's market channels from the second half of 2021.
In 2021, AFC Energy launched its dedicated Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) Fuel Cell test facility hosted at the company's Surrey headquarters. The design of the new dedicated AEM fuel cell facility was completed in the second half of 2020 with full fit-out now complete in advance of full operation.
What the boss says: Adam Bond, chief executive
" [The deal] marks a historic milestone in the commercialisation of our proprietary hydrogen fuel cell as we commence a long-term relationship with ABB.
“As one of the world's leading suppliers of rapid EV charging infrastructure, this strategic partnership is fully aligned with AFC Energy's go to market strategy with ABB providing strong and credible access to key customer channels both in Europe and overseas"