The opening plenary session was chaired by Professor Michaela Kendall, CEO & Co-Founder, Adelan Ltd, as Visiting Professor of Fuel Cells at Birmingham City (BCU) and Aston Universities in central Birmingham.
Responding to a series of 2030 clean air challenges the conference considered energy leadership, low-carbon buildings, and clean transport – all areas where fuel cell technologies like the micro-tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (mSOFC) pioneered by Adelan can play a significant role. For example, the conference noted that petrol- and diesel-fuelled transport is damaging public health, particularly among the young, causing premature deaths while adding 20% to global warming emissions. In response, the Clean Energy Leadership Challenge is expected to produce half of the Midlands’ regional energy demand from clean energy by 2030, replacing the £10 billion currently spent importing mainly carbon-based power, gas and transport fuel.
In her address to the conference Dr Kendall emphasised the need to commercialise the tremendous innovations that are emerging from UK academic institutions, saying: “UK universities are great innovators – but they will not commercialise their innovations – businesses will. Today is all about collaborating to support small businesses deliver new technology to solve this urban air problem, whilst also addressing climate change through clean transport, heating and power generation. Coordination to commercialise these new approaches will be key, supported by government and universities. This is the heart of the UK manufacturing ecosystem – we must harness these skills in the region, for the region to achieve the Clean Growth ambitions of the Local Industrial Strategy.”
Joining Dr Kendall at BCU were Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Enterprise, and Andrew Donald, Distributed Energy Manager at Centrica Business Solutions, among others.
The conference also explored the challenge of changing behaviour in a bid to encourage the uptake of new cleaner technologies, including building a permanent exhibition highlighting the local and global emergency from local atmospheric pollution and combined with showcasing a range of solutions, such as mSOFCs.
Setting out how Adelan is rising to the clean air challenge, Dr Kendall pledged her company to commit to developing a fuel cell incubator supported by STEAMhouse at BCU. Designed to showcase fuel cells produced and manufactured in the region – for use in the region and beyond – Dr Kendall also flagged an October public event that is to bring product designers, digital skills and fuel cell technologists together, as well as a commitment to continued collaboration with academic institutions in The Midlands like BCU and Aston University. The event will be a STEAMlab held at STEAMhouse in Digbeth, in the city centre of Birmingham. It will showcase UK fuel cell innovations pre-screened as ripe for commercialisation by the Fuel Cell Innovation Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University, the heart of fuel cell innovation in the UK.
Concluding, Dr Kendall said: “Collaboration, coordination and commercialisation are needed to support people excited by fuel cell technology and address the real-world struggles they will face to manoeuvre it successfully to commercial reality. We are proposing a UK fuel cell commercialisation pathway that will inform nascent FCH businesses or those interested in using FCH products.”
First founded in The Midlands, Birmingham-based Adelan pioneered microtubular solid oxide fuel cell (mSOFC) technology more than 30 years’ ago. Adelan’s patented and scalable technology gives the fuel cell unprecedented flexibility, allowing the system to run on a range of commonly available fuels such as LPG, natural gas or propane/butane mix. As a result, though Adelan fuel cells can also run on hydrogen, they offer considerable additional operational flexibility and ease of use benefits whilst retaining a small, compact and lightweight footprint. Adelan staff founded and built up the University of Birmingham Fuel Cells Centre, and now aim to commercialise UK fuel cell technology through the Fuel Cell Incubator, with a first event in October 2019.
To discover more about how Adelan can support your future energy ambitions or to meet your requirements for clean, quiet and reliable energy for remote, mobile or any other applications, please contact Dr Kendall and the rest of the Adelan team at:
Adelan Ltd, 15 Weekin Works, 112-116 Park Hill Road, Birmingham, B17 9HD (UK)
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