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ACAL Energy's new fuel cell gets first demo at Solvay Interox

25 October 2011

ACAL Energy has achieved key milestones in the development of its FlowCath platinum-free liquid cathode fuel cell technology. The first field test system is producing gross power of 3kW, while at the same time the company has also achieved a new record peak performance power density of nearly 900mW/cm2, which is a substantial improvement over the previously announced peak power record of around 600 mW/cm2.

ACAL Energy has built its first FlowCath demonstration unit, and will install the unit next month at Solvay Interox’s chemical plant at Warrington, Cheshire. There, it will provide continuous electrical power to a remote environmental monitoring system within the manufacturing facility. The stack and regenerator sub-systems in the demonstration unit are together capable of producing over 3kW of gross electrical power and represent a significant scale-up from the previous generation test unit which produced about 1kW of gross power.

The demonstration system is part of a collaborative project that ACAL Energy is leading, co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board. The project is seen as a major step towards commercialisation for this innovative technology, and is supported by ACAL Energy’s partners: Solvay Interox, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells, UPS Systems, the Centre for Process Innovation, the University of Southampton and the Manufacturing Engineering Centre at Cardiff University.
 
The new record peak power output from a single cell of nearly 900 mW/cm2 was achieved under the PEM Challenge grant project sponsored by the Carbon Trust, which is funding accelerated development of ACAL Energy’s technology for automotive applications.  The latest performance results give the company even greater confidence in the ability of its technology to meet the efficiency requirements of nearly all stationary and automotive applications, while delivering a substantially higher level of durability than conventional fuel cells.

“With the successful implementation of our FlowCath® technology into a full multi-kilowatt system, ACAL Energy has passed a significant milestone in our business plan.  We have shown that this new low cost and durable fuel cell technology can be packaged and operated in a form suitable for nearly all stationary power applications”, said Dr SB Cha, CEO of ACAL Energy. “To have broken new performance records at the same time is a very promising sign that we can also make this technology suitable for automotive applications.  It is also a tribute to the hard work and ground-breaking innovation of the entire ACAL Energy team.”

ACAL Energy’s proprietary technology replaces the platinum catalyst on the cathode in a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell with a low cost, durable liquid chemical, so reducing the overall platinum content, as much of the platinum in conventional PEM fuel cells is used in the cathode. Fuel cell systems utilizing FlowCath® represent a clean and economically sensible alternative to diesel and gasoline generators in stationary and transportation applications requiring 1kW to 200kW of electrical power.


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