Industrial fuel cell developer AFC Energy (LON:AF) has hailed the successful trial of its first 51 cell stack cartridge as a “massive step forward” for its technology. The trial as part of the FCH JU funded Power Up project, at an industrial gas plant facility in Germany, was the third step in a ramp-up to a commercial-sized operation of 101 cells and doubled the number of fuel cells. AFC Energy, which has developed hydrogen-powered fuel cells to produce electricity, has a contract to supply a 240kW system by the end of 2015, which it said it is on track to meet. This latest trial followed on from a successful test of a 25 cell unit. The tricky part of the 51 cell trial was to manage the additional heat generated, AFC said, but the trial showed that the liquid electrolyte in its alkaline fuel cells also disperses heat. The “heat-up” time for the fuel cell was also reduced to four hours and will be shortened further as the power increases, said the company.Adam Bond, AFC’s chief executive said: “Achievement of the 51 fuel cell stack, which is now only half of the commercial scale 101 fuel cell cartridge designed for the KORE, is a massive step forward in the commercialisation of AFC’s leading fuel cell technology.”

The next trial, for a 101 cell stack, is scheduled for to start in February/March. Bond told Proactive that there will likely be a number of commercial announcements from AFC Energy this year. “Early revenue is likely to come from licensing agreements, but I would hope that in the next year or so we will start generating revenue from the sales of electricity,” he said

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