AFC Energy is based in Surrey in the UK, near London, and is publically traded on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol AFC. It was established in 2006 to purchase technology developed by Eneco, and energy producer in the Netherlands, and has since raised capital and proceeded with development of the technology it purchased from Eneco.
AFC hopes to employ alkaline fuel cell technology in commercial applications. The company has added extensive development to existing technology, but the core technology has been known for over 150 years. Similar systems were used by NASA on the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions. At the time, however, the technology was not commercially viable due to cost.
Alkaline fuel cell technology has benefits, but challenges remain. Benefits include that it produces no harmful atmospheric emissions and has an energy conversion efficiency of 70 percent. The primary challenge to the technology is the requirement for input of pure hydrogen into the fuel cell. Producing and transporting pure hydrogen is fraught with difficulties.
AFC intends to surmount the difficulties of producing and transporting hydrogen by utilizing hydrogen that is produced as a waste product from other industrial activities and generating power on the site where the hydrogen is produced. It has developed partnerships with several firms whose facilities generate hydrogen waste products, and a reactor is currently under construction in Australia in partnership with Linc Energy. Linc Energy produces excess hydrogen from the production of coal bed methane.
The firm recently completed and has produced energy from a commercial reactor in the UK. The reactor is primarily for testing AFC’s ongoing technological advances. Eventually, the firm expects develop the technology to the point that it can produce power wherever it may be needed.