Investment in fuel cells

Fouriertransform, the Swedish government-backed venture-capital group for the automotive industry, has announced a £5.3m investment in fuel-cell manufacturer, Powercell Sweden.

The investment will be made by injecting money directly into the company in exchange for shares. AB Volvo will remain the largest owner of Powercell Sweden, with around 40 per cent share in equity.

Once the deal is complete, owners of the group will include AB Volvo, OCAS, Midroc New Technology and Fouriertransform.

Per Wassén, chairman of Powercell Sweden, said: ‘We regard it as very positive that Powercell will gain an additional strong financial owner. This will enable us to be a long-term partner in heavy industrial development projects.’

Hans Golteus, acting chief executive of Fouriertransform, added: ‘We have come to know the enterprise and the people behind it and are looking forward to a trustful cooperation. We are convinced that this is a good investment for the industry, with potential for high profitability.’

Powercell said that it will initially focus on producing hydrogen gas from existing fuels such as biofuel or diesel. Compared with normal diesel-operated electrical aggregates, it claims its product is more efficient, smaller and quieter, and will generate no emissions of carbon monoxide or oxides of nitrogen.

The group’s product is based on two patented components: a fuel converter and a PEM fuel cell. The fuel converter produces hydrogen gas for applications including trucks, boats, radio masts at remote locations and electrical-hybrid vehicles.

Since the beginning of July, Midroc and OCAS, along with the Swedish Energy Agency and Volvo Technology Transfer, made a joint investment of £17.3m in Powercell Sweden in Gothenburg, which is expected to generate 100 new jobs over the next three years.

‘We are busy staffing the company and have received more than 1,000 highly qualified applicants for our advertised jobs,’ said Wassén. ‘All resources, from management, marketing and sales to development, production, purchasing and the laboratory will be collected under one roof. This will make Powercell the largest fuel-cell plant in northern Europe.’