AFC Energy and Industrial Chemicals to build UK’s largest fuel cell energy facility

Posted on 26 Jun 2012 by Chris Flynn

AFC Energy will install the UK’s largest fuel cell energy facility at Industrial Chemicals’ (ICL) chlor-alkali plant in Essex.

The industrial fuel cell power company, AFC Energy, will install the facility in stages and once complete it will provide enough electrical output to power 500 homes – approaching one mega watt of power.

Power will be generated by AFC Energy’s fuel cell system using hydrogen, produced as a waste by-product in ICL’s chlor-alkali process.

Around 1.4 million tonnes of hydrogen is produced globally by the chlor-alkali industry with 15% of this vented into the atmosphere.

ICL will be able to stop waste hydrogen discharging into the atmosphere and reduce its dependence on the national grid for energy.

The ICL plant in Essex manufactures chlorine and caustic soda for a range of uses that include household cleaning products and water treatment.

Hydrogen and purchase power will be provided by the ICL under long-term contracts and AFC Energy will own, operate and maintain the facility.

Initial work on a beta system will start later this year with the full-scale system starting once finance has been secured. Both companies are seeking UK and European funding grants to accelerate the installation of the UK’s largest fuel cell facility.

Ian Williamson, AFC Energy CEO, said: “We are very pleased to be working with ICL in this ground breaking commercial-scale development.”

However, he commented: “We now need the finding agencies to step up to challenge and support the vision.”