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.
Proton Power Systems is, to put it delicately, a company that hasn’t quite hit its stride just yet. The company produces hybrid electric fuel cells that can supplement or back up traditional fossil-fuel-based engines during heavy industrial applications. However, a switch to fully electric cells often doesn’t provide the necessary energy for most industrial uses such as materials handling or mass transit.
Proton Power Systems’ proprietary hybrid electric fuel cells aim to solve the paradox involved with clean energy, which is that it often doesn’t provide the necessary power for heavy tasks. The cells connect with existing engines or generators to offer compromise solutions that can work according to each company’s individual needs. When using the hybrid cell, companies achieve lower fuel consumption, less emissions and consistent power delivery.
The company has been on the Alternative Investment Markets (AIM) for nearly five years now, and while shares were initially offered at significantly inflated prices due to the rush toward green energy, they have since stabilised at a level more consistent with the company’s profits and viability. Proton Power Systems is still a viable company, but it is heavily in debt. Its losses have been significantly greater than its profits for the past five years in a row. While the company has made significant advances in hybrid fuel cell technology, they haven’t been enough to turn the company into a profitable endeavour.
Nevertheless, the company has a a few bright spots. Its loss margins have decreased from year to year, and 2011 could be the year that PPS ends in the black. With a variety of industrial and mass transit clients looking for ways to save money on fuel, Proton Power Systems has a plan for moving forward. Furthermore, oil prices are expected to remain expensive, increasing demand for hybrid electric motors and fuel cells. This all potentially makes PPS an attractive candidate for future investment at rock-bottom prices.
Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited was established in 1992 by several private energy companies working along with Australia’s Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organisation. The Company is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.
In 2005, the company raised $25 million and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. In 2006, it raised £37 million and listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market. The company’s code on both exchanges is CFU.
In 2009 it raised an additional $33 million by offering placement memorandums to new investors and rights issues to current investors. The bulk of CFCL’s operation is in Australia where it has most of its staff and assets. This may change as the company seeks and receives investment capital and marketing rights from European governments and industries.
Ceramic Fuel Cells is an alternative-energy company specializing in the development of solid-oxide-[fuel-cell technology. The company is in advanced development and working rapidly towards putting their fuel cells on the market.
These cells will be small units for home or on-site production of electricity and heat. The company already has a plant in the United Kingdom that will make high-quality ceramic powders and another plant in Germany ready for high-volume, fuel-cell stack production. Their premier product will be the Blue-Gen unit.
In 2009, they received an order from Paloma for a Blue-Gen stack to power their warehouse and sales office in Japan. By the third quarter of 2010, they made their first sale in the U.S.
Looking into the future, CFCL hopes to create a strong market for micro fuel cells that will power single appliances. They are already making arrangements with appliance manufacturers to put the company’s fuel cells into their products. In order to do this, however, they still need to improve power output and stack life of their micro units.
AFC Energy was founded in 2006 to provide low-cost hydrogen alkaline fuel cells for industrial applications. Fuel cells have been used in the past to power a variety of technologies including submarines and spacecraft. By utilising modern manufacturing technologies, best practices and proprietary advances in waste management, AFC energy seeks to make fuel cells a viable method for powering more commonplace technologies such as clean energy and chemical production.
In 2007, AFC Energy signed a contract with the Indonesian government to become the excessive supplier/manufacturer of clean energy in the country. By 2009, AFC was one of the top-performing stocks on the AIM, and by 2010 the company had won a large fuel cell order from Centrica, one of the UK’s leading integrated energy providers. AFC has partnered with many different world-class companies including chemicals giant Akzo Nobel, industrial gas supplier Air Products and clean coal provider Linc Energy.
The company’s growth areas include supplementing and improving the efficiency of underground coal gasification (UCG), one of the most commonly used “clean coal” technologies. UCG utilises inefficient steam cycle technologies to produce energy directly from gasified coal. This produces waste hydrogen gas, which, when fed into AFC’s fuel cells, can offer free electricity.
AFC’s low-cost fuel cells are among the most efficient sources of power in the world, acquiring close to 70% electrical efficiency compared to around 33% efficiency for the standard internal combustion engine. They will save clean coal companies money and make them more effective at providing cheap, clean power.
Other target markets for AFC include any industrial supplier or provider with significant hydrogen gas waste by-products. If a company wastes hydrogen gas in significant quantities, AFC fuel cells can significantly improve production efficiency. By providing a method for saving money and producing cheap, clean energy, AFC is occupying a highly-sought niche for today’s eco-friendly, finance-tight business environment.