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04 Mar 2024

AFC Energy has had a major breakthrough concerning its ammonia cracker reactor

AFC Energy has had a major breakthrough concerning its ammonia cracker reactor

AFC Energy announced their discovery that their ammonia cracker reactor technology is able to operate on only 9.5kWh of electrical power. This amount of energy enables the technology to produce one kilogram of hydrogen.

This breakthrough has revealed that this version of the technology, which is an updated version of their 2023 design, allows for an electrical power saving rate of 33%. This means that the use of this technology has enabled AFC to hit their milestone of <10kWh/kg a year ahead of their schedule. This is an excellent result and extremely beneficial, as the team also discovered, that if the equipment is operated at 100% electrical power, the cracker still achieved only 9.5kWh of electrical power consumption, for every kilogram of hydrogen generated. This is a much better result than the team originally hoped for.

AFC continued to collect results and stated that, ‘Using heat or waste hydrogen by-products to lower the electrical demand even further, the cracker reactors reached full operation within 10 minutes of being started at room temperature. Previous reactors have taken several hours to achieve the same operating state.’

Taking the experiment further, the team also decided to operate its proprietary fuel cell technology alongside its ammonia cracker reactor. Running these two simultaneously “highlighted the potential hydrogen purity levels achievable.” The final result of this experiment proved that it was possible for the power generated from the fuel cell to charge the electrical vehicles from ammonia fuel.

The results from AFC’s electrolyser were compared to electrolysers that are currently being used within industries and the European Parliament stated, ‘that current electrolysers consume between 50-55kWh/kg of hydrogen, meaning AFC Energy’s technology could deliver hydrogen at less than a fifth of the power demand of an equivalent sized electrolyser.’

Following this breakthrough, the UK Government chose to award AFC with, £676,500 in order to support the development of the ammonia cracker reactor technology. This award is intended to help and support the design and integration of the ammonia cracker reactors technology, whilst also making it adaptable to marine purposed, ammonia fueled internal combustion engines (ICE). Now that this plan is in place, the further future plans that the company has created involve moving this project to a worldwide application that could be used upon maritime vessels that are looking to use ammonia combustion as an alternative fuel source.

The company’s Chief Executive, Adam Bond, spoke about the achievement created by this milestone and how it places AFC Energy in a position that will enable it to build out its first series of modular packaged units for customer evaluation. He commented, “We have welcomed many visitors to our large cracker demonstration utilising prior year’s technology since its launch during COP28 in Dubai last year (2023), further evidencing the growth in market demand we can expect for our cracker technology.”

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