ACAL Energy’s FlowCath® technology uses a new liquid catalyst to replace the traditional platinum-based catalyst. Platinum accounts for approximately one third of a fuel cell’s overall cost, so FlowCath technology is a significant step towards making fuel cells more affordable.
ACAL Energy will install a FlowCath fuel cell demonstrator unit at Solvay Interox Ltd’s industrial site in Warrington, generating prime power for a remote environmental monitoring system within the manufacturing plant. ACAL Energy chose UPS Systems as the principal adviser on the commercial integration because of its knowledge and expertise in fuel cell installations; to date UPS Systems has installed more fuel cell units for portable and stationary applications in the UK than any other provider.
“UPS Systems’ experience of large, commercial fuel cell installations will be a valuable asset and help to make our vision a reality,” said Dr SB Cha, Chief Executive Officer at ACAL Energy. “Having experienced the issues we need to be aware of in our installation, UPS Systems will help ensure a smooth integration process and offer expert advice to all the partners involved.”
UPS Systems Managing Director Tom Sperrey commented: “ACAL Energy’s solution is targeting the only significant drawback of fuel cell technology – high cost. We’re delighted to be involved with the project and pass on our expertise. Once FlowCath is rolled out there will be no excuse for overlooking fuel cell technology – it is more reliable than mains grid, cleaner than generators and will be more affordable than ever.”
In addition to consulting on the project, UPS Systems will also be supplying its monitoring system REMO. REMO is a solution that is unique in providing remote monitoring for most UPS and for all other types of generators. The system uses SMS or email to issue automatic notifications whenever there are mains grid failures, giving users peace of mind by protecting their equipment 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The fuel cell installation is the result of a collaborative partnership between ACAL Energy, UPS Systems, Solvay Interox (in cooperation with Solvicore), Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells, The Centre for Process Innovation, the University of Southampton and the Manufacturing Engineering Centre at Cardiff University.
The building and installation work is due to commence in mid 2010.
UPS Systems plc (upssystems.co.uk) is the UK’s largest independent supplier of standby power solutions. Through its independent position, allied to close working relationships with the world’s leading manufacturers, the company is uniquely able to offer impartial technical advice on the widest range of standby power solutions. An authority on fuel cell technology, UPS Systems implemented the UK’s first two hydrogen fuel cells providing AC standby power, and is currently working on projects where the technology will be used for the supply of backup or prime power to utilities, telecommunications, remote telemetry, portable signage and renewable energy applications.
ACAL Energy is a developer of a new fuel cell technology that will enable low cost and highly reliable fuel cell systems for a wide variety of applications. The company was founded in August 2004 by FlowCath® inventor Dr Andrew Creeth and is headquartered in Runcorn, UK.
Fuel cells are a highly efficient and clean energy production technology capable of replacing combustion engines in applications including remote and distributed power and residential cogeneration, as well as automotive and mobile power applications. FlowCath® replaces the expensive precious metal catalyst found in conventional fuel cells with a proprietary low cost liquid catalyst. This not only reduces the cost of the fuel cell, but also provides significant durability and reliability benefits through system simplification and the elimination of the most common failure mechanisms found in standard fuel cells.
Solvay Interox Ltd is a company wholly owned by Solvay SA, the world’s largest manufacturer of hydrogen peroxide. Solvay has broad experience and expertise in the fields of industrial polymers, membranes and especially fluoropolymers and has significant interest and capability in fuel cells, particularly through their joint venture company Solvicore. SolviCore is a 50%/50% joint venture of Umicore and Solvay, with currently 43 employees, which focuses on the development, production and sales of Membrane-Electrode-Assemblies (MEA) for fuel cells. Solvay Interox will provide the location and application for the development.
Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells Ltd is a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of fuel cell catalysts, membrane electrode assemblies and other catalysed components to fuel cell developers worldwide. The facility at Swindon, where this project will be based, is capable of researching and fabricating a wide range of developmental and production scale MEAs.
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) was established by One North East in 2004 as a UK-wide resource to stimulate and drive innovation within the process industry. The Low Carbon Energy platform has laboratories that support the practical implementation of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. It also works with a dedicated network of organisations and companies supporting the development of a low carbon energy supply chain in North East England.
The Manufacturing Engineering Centre (MEC) based in Cardiff University was founded in 1996 under the directorship of Professor Duc Pham OBE. The 90-strong MEC conducts world-class research and development in all major areas of Advanced Manufacturing and uses the output to promote the introduction of new manufacturing technology and practice to industry. MEC will provide capability in low cost system design and engineering to meet the target low cost parameters.
Southampton University. The 5*-rated School of Engineering Sciences at Southampton University brings a wealth of expertise in modelling and simulation of complex systems. The School benefits from world-class computing facilities including several high-performance computing systems for parallel simulations, and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. They will use their expertise in fluid and electrochemical modelling to optimise the liquid and electrode flows.