Fuel cell deal marks transition for AFC Power

British fuel cell manufacturer AFC Power has committed to build a 50MW fuel cell park in South Korea, as part of a joint venture with two local companies, Samyoung and Changsing Chemical. 

The park is to be built in two phases in Daesan, a port city in the west of South Korea.

Based in Surrey, AFC specialises in alkaline fuel cells which do not require precious metal catalysts. These, it says, have an energy efficiency of 60 per cent and operate between 70°-100°C, making them the most efficient fuel cell currently available. The company was formed in 2006, and boasts Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich as its largest shareholder.

The Korean agreement will see AFC install first 5MW of capacity at the new fuel cell park by the end of next year, with a further 45MW to be added by the end of 2019. The joint venture is expecting this to generate revenues of some $1bn over its first 10 years of operation.

Today’s agreement is expected to be the first of several projects from the joint venture company, in which AFC holds some 40 per cent to Samyoung’s 45 per cent and Changsing’s 15 per cent.

AFC will sell its fuel cell equipment into the joint venture and supply technical and operational advice, while Samyoung will manage engineering procurement, construction (EPC) and permitting, and Changsing will provide land, hydrogen and logistics.

AFC sees this agreement as marking its transition from an R&D company to a fully-fledged member of the energy industry, and chose South Korea in part because of its strong incentives for fuel cell deployment.

It is hoping to demonstrate the world’s largest alkaline fuel cell system, a 240kW installation called ‘Power-Up’, in December this year at Air Products’ industrial gas plant in Satde, Germany.

‘I am confident our new partners are strongly aligned with AFC’s renewed and aggressive commercialisation strategy into South Korea,’ AFC CEO Adam Bond said in a statement.