UK fuel cell developer AFC Energy, directed by EHA Chairman Ian Williamson has announced an equity investment of nearly £8.7 million in the company by Ervington Investments Ltd, the ultimate beneficial owner of whom is Roman Abramovich, the multi-billionaire Russian business tycoon and owner of London based football club, Chelsea FC.

The investment, which has been made through the creation of over 30 million new shares in AFC Energy, is valued at approximately fifteen percent of the enlarged issued share capital of the Surrey-based alkaline fuel cell innovator. Alkaline fuel cells have comparatively low power densities and are sensitive to poisoning but offer high electrical efficiencies at relatively low costs, making them attractive in applications where financial savings are more valuable than space savings, such as at industrial sites.

The funds raised will strengthen AFC Energy’s balance sheet and provide the company with additional cash resources for its long term growth strategy and for further investment into the development of its low cost fuel cell technology over the coming years. News of the investment caused shares in AFC Energy to jump by as much as a quarter, according to the Financial Times.

Ian Williamson, chief executive of AFC Energy and EHA Board Chairman said: “This investment by Ervington is a ringing endorsement of AFC Energy’s innovative technology and its strategy to become a leading hydrogen fuel cell energy supply company for industrial and utility-scale applications. Our low cost hydrogen fuel cells are cleaner and more efficient than technologies that use combustion to generate energy like gas-fired power stations. They also supply continuous, base-load power unlike other clean energy sources such as solar and wind power. Ervington’s support not only enables us to take full advantage of our commercialisation plans expeditiously but will also provide us with high level access to energy users and potential partners globally.”