The AFC Energy alkaline fuel cell power plant will be installed in stages at the Industrial Chemicals Ltd chlor-alkali plant in Essex, which has recently been constructed to manufacture chlorine and caustic soda.
Hydrogen is currently produced as a waste by-product in ICL’s chlor-alkali process, and discharged to atmosphere. In future it will be used to generate power using AFC Energy’s fuel cell system, as part of ICL’s integrated energy generation plan for the site.
AFC Energy will supply fuel cell systems to ICL in stages under an ESCO (Energy Supply Company) model, whereby ICL will provide its hydrogen and purchase power under long-term contracts. AFC Energy will own, operate, and maintain the fuel cell systems.
AFC Energy and ICL plan to start initial work on an AFC’s Beta Plus System later this year, and on the full-scale system after securing project finance. Both companies are jointly seeking UK and European funding grants to accelerate the demonstration of the large-scale fuel cell system.
‘Alongside the development of our new chlor-alkali facility, we have reviewed a number of fuel cell systems and other technologies that could be used to generate electrical power from the hydrogen that is produced as part of the chlor-alkali process,’ says Darren Sharpe, Energy Projects Manager at ICL.
Sharpe continues: ‘We have been impressed with the potential of AFC Energy’s alkaline fuel cell system, the suitability of the system to operate with the chlor-alkali process, the focus on commercial economics, and the sheer pace of development we have witnessed at AFC Energy to further the capabilities of their fuel cell technology.’