AFC Energy (AFC:L), the industrial fuel cell power company, and Industrial Chemicals Limited (ICL), have announced their intent to install the UK’s largest fuel cell facility to generate clean energy.

The facility, which will use AFC Energy’s low-cost alkaline fuel cell system, will have an electrical output approaching 1 MWe.

It will be installed in stages at ICL’s chlor-alkali plant which has recently been constructed in Essex to manufacture chlorine and caustic soda that have a range of uses including household cleaning products, detergents and water treatment.

Hydrogen, produced as a waste by-product in the chlor-alkali process, will be used to generate power using the fuel cell system and will form part of ICL’s integrated energy generation plan at the site.

This is said to be the largest fuel cell system announced for installation in the UK to date, and both companies believe it will be the largest alkaline fuel cell system anywhere in the world.

Without this fuel cell system, waste hydrogen would typically be discharged into the atmosphere. Instead, ICL will be able to reduce dependence on the national grid for its energy needs by creating economic value from its hydrogen.

The intent is for AFC Energy to supply fuel cell systems to ICL in stages under an ESCO (Energy Supply Company) model whereby ICL will provide its hydrogen and purchase power under long-term contracts.

AFC Energy will own, operate and maintain the fuel cell systems.

Initial work on an AFC’s Beta Plus System is expected to start later this year , followed by the full-scale system once project finance has been secured.

Jointly, both companies are actively seeking grants from UK and European funding to accelerate the demonstration of the large-scale fuel cell system.

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