Alkaline fuel cell innovators AFC Energy are targeting the world’s fast-growing market for data centre power, in a new partnership with Swiss engineering giant ABB.
Patent holders on the Hi-Power membrane cell, the Dunsfold, Surrey-based firm formalised the alliance this morning, as they confirmed they’d raised £ 36 million in an over-subscribed equity float. Their third announcement today to investors confirmed AFC are also raising another £30 million.
Data centres are already thought to consume around 2% of global power. A September 2018 estimate published in the journal Nature predicts by 2030 that will rise to around 3% of a greatly enlarged power market.
Today’s data power initiative comes as CEO Adam Bond widens AFC’s partnership beyond ABB’s existing business in making EV charge points. An accord signed by both companies in December 2020 envisages incorporating AFC’s proprietary fuel cell technology into ABB’s eMobility products.
This week Facebook confirmed it now takes 100% of its power from renewable sources. The digital leviathan said it had eliminated 94% of its carbon emissions identified as recently as 2018.
ABB and AFC Energy believe the latter’s unique approach to fuel cell manufacture can give them the edge in reducing costs of hydrogen and electricity production. The Swiss partner already draws on a 25 year history in delivering uninterruptible power systems to ‘hyperscale’ server farms.
Today’s agreement falls short of a paid licencing of AGC Energy’s technology to the global engineering firm, nor does it bind either party from talking to other collaborators. Instead it signals joint development and design initiatives, envisaging new techniques for commercialisation at all points of the power supply process. Outline talks are already under way with prospective customers, the companies said.
ABB has injected £ 3.25 million into the Surrey firm.
AFC Energy CEO Adam Bond, chief executive officer at, said, “Through the investment made into AFC Energy today, we are confident that ABB’s position in the (eMobility and data centre) sectors will be further enhanced by the integration of our leading alkaline fuel cell technology.
“We continue to receive strong customer enquiries into our partnership from all over the world, confirming we are working with the right partners, on the right technology, at the right time to support society’s accelerated drive towards a more sustainable world”.
AFC Energy’s third announcement this morning flagged its desire for City institutional investors speedily to take up a further 47 million shares. The company values that stake at around £30.25 million. New chairman Gary Bullard and non-exec director Joseph Mangion will qualify for the new issue, jointly subscribing 45,000 of the new shares.
Market response to AFC Energy’s trio of announcements was favourable. By 14:00 its shares on AIM were up 4.14% at 70.82p.