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AFC Energy and Peel Environmental to assess feasibility of UK’s largest hydrogen fuel cell precinct

Industrial fuel cell power company AFC Energy has announced that it has signed an agreement with Peel Environmental Ltd to assess the techno-economic feasibility of the UK’s largest hydrogen fuel cell precinct at Peel’s Protos industrial park.

AFC Energy's "POWER-UP", the world's largest operational alkaline fuel cell system at Air Products' industrial gas plant in Stade, Germany (photo courtesy AFC Energy).

AFC Energy’s “POWER-UP”, the world’s largest operational alkaline fuel cell system at Air Products’ industrial gas plant in Stade, Germany (photo courtesy AFC Energy).

AFC Energy (AFC), a UK-based industrial fuel cell power company has announced that it has signed an agreement with Peel Environmental Ltd (Peel) to assess the techno-economic feasibility of the UK’s largest hydrogen fuel cell precinct at Peel’s Protos industrial park in the UK. Peel Environmental is the clean energy and waste infrastructure developer of Peel Land and Property, which owns and develops land and in turn is a subsidiary of the Peel Group, one of the leading real estate, infrastructure and transport investment enterprises in the UK.

250 ha industrial development

Protos is located between Manchester, Liverpool and Chester and will deliver 250 hectares (ha) of industrial development in the North West of England. It represents a strategic cluster of businesses encompassing energy intensive industries with associated supply chains and, according to the statement, “reflects Peel’s vision for an energy generation hub that provides secure, low carbon and low cost energy generation to its onsite facilities”.

AFC Energy will conduct the assessment in collaboration with Peel and other third party partners to review a range of hydrogen sources and off-take arrangements and work with local stakeholders that will see a proposed phasing of fuel cell projects at Protos commencing at 1 MW through to an estimated 35 MW to 50 MW of installed power capacity at the site. AFC Energy has developed and successfully demonstrated an alkaline fuel cell system, which converts hydrogen into “clean” electricity. AFC Energy’s key project POWER-UP demonstrated the world’s largest operational alkaline fuel cell system at Air Products’ industrial gas plant in Stade, Germany, in January this year.

According to the statement, the installation of a fuel cell project of the scale proposed could see a range of new investment and potential employment creation opportunities consistent with the UK Government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative. The Northern Powerhouse has been recognised by the UK Government as a major player in the country’s energy sector. The focus on low carbon generation technologies identifies the region as a national hub for nuclear power, onshore and offshore wind, biomass and associated supply chains. The integration of hydrogen fuel cells into the regional energy mix creates further opportunities for decarbonisation of the national power sector and utilises surplus hydrogen available in the area to generate clean energy on a long-term basis.

– AFC Energy is proud to be collaborating with Peel Land & Property Group. This techno-economic feasibility study will see a proposed phasing of fuel cell projects at Protos commencing at 1MW through to an estimated 35MW to 50MW of installed capacity at the site, delivering the first phase of an industrial fuel cell power company. Protos will provide the ideal opportunity for a scaled and commercial hydrogen fuel cell facility that will play an important part in the long term and sustainable powering of the UK’s Northern Powerhouse, said Adam Bond CEO AFC Energy.

UK’s largest stationary fuel cell?

A positive outcome from the techno-economic assessment for the development of a 35 MW to 50 MW fuel cell project at Peel’s Protos site could see the development of the UK’s largest stationary fuel cell project and one of the largest in the world, confirming a growing transition towards a hydrogen-based economy. The feasibility study will be conducted over several months into 2017.

– We are delighted to partner with AFC Energy in investigating the feasibility of this commercial scale hydrogen fuel cell techno-economic feasibility study, working towards a fuel cell project of scale. AFC’s hydrogen fuel cell precinct study will complement the existing low carbon energy generation technologies on site at Protos. This type of technology demonstration at Protos, exemplifies the industrial strategy the UK government is promoting. A successful hydrogen fuel cell project of this scale will be a first for the UK and we hope to be able to support more new technologies in the future to provide regional economic growth and competitive low carbon domestic energy, said Myles Kitcher, Managing Director of Peel Environmental and Protos.

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