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AFC Energy fuel cell system passes field testing milestone

AFC Energy, the UK-based alkaline fuel cell developer, has successfully completed an important field test of its first generation, lower-cost, non-platinum electrodes at the AkzoNobel chlor-alkali plant in Bitterfeld, Germany.

During the test the AFC Energy alkaline fuel cell system fed electricity into AkzoNobel’s grid, on a par with previous field tests using platinum-based electrodes. In addition to generating electricity, the field test included automated operation of the fuel cell and remote monitoring of the fuel cell performance.

Meanwhile, AFC Energy is close to completing an upgrade to its development facility. The upgrade is aimed at reducing the time taken to develop and optimize fuel cell electrode materials, and AFC Energy can now manufacture up to 1000 electrodes per day in-house, depending on the precise process details.

The next significant phase of development is the continuing improvement to electrode and system performance towards its full design specification. In particular, AFC Energy will concentrate on further development of its proprietary, low-cost, electrodes. AFC Energy expects to have its small system available next year.

In parallel with this work, the upgraded development facility and the recruitment of additional staff has enabled AFC Energy to accelerate development of its large fuel cell system, which is designed to work at up to 50 kW. AFC Energy now expects the 50 kW system – which will be its building block for large-scale, multi-MW installations – to be ready for field trials by the first quarter of 2011.

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