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News >>>Adelan fuel cells extend solar energy storage capacity in Chinese homes

Posted  March 6 2020

Adelan fuel cell technology is set to energise China’s homes in a new clean technology collaboration. Under a deal backed by InnovateUK, a complete 24-hour solar home power supply system has emerged.

Supporting a solar power and battery system developed by a Jiangsu-based partner, Adelan fuel cells add back-up power and resilience to create a hybrid unit that delivers clean, quiet and round-the-clock power.

Development of the ‘SOFcSOLar’ (SOFSOL) home power product offers significant market opportunities both in the domestic Chinese market and beyond.

Renewable energy has experienced rapid growth in China and batteries are typically being used to store any excess capacity. The problem is battery weight, volume and cost. Fuel cells are able to enhance the battery storage capabilities to give many times more storage and back-up capacity for the same size and cost. In addition, the Adelan fuel cell also potentially provides heat for hot water, another significant source of energy demand in domestic properties.

Adelan CEO Dr Michaela Kendall, explains: “Balancing renewable energy supply with power demand is one of the key challenges we need to overcome to achieve the low-carbon transition. Coupling renewables, storage and fuel cells in this system maximises the opportunity for renewable energy contributions. More importantly, by solving the variability problem, the fuel cell hybrid system works with people’s lives and means that renewables are a viable solution. In the same way, our proven microtubular SOFC technology can use easily available forecourt fuels like propane or LPG and making this a usable, real-world approach that can be widely deployed.”

The project was jointly funded by InnovateUK and co-financed by the two technology partners. The £400k project was led by Adelan’s Dr Kevin Kendall FRS with Guo Junping leading Chinese company partners. On completion of the project Guo Junping said, “China is leading the world in fuel cell and hydrogen technology development to support clean energy deployment around the world and protect global citizens from the scourge of air pollution. Multi-billion pound investments into fuel cell technology in China demonstrate a level of commitment unparalleled elsewhere in the world.  Respected experts like Adelan help to accelerate China towards clearing air pollution globally”.

Alongside the core hybrid energy system product, a new company is being established to commercialise the product in the Chinese home market. Other new products and prototypes also emerged from the partnership, where UK Midlands and Chinese manufacturing collaboration was supported.

Commenting on the project Dr Kendall said: “Projects like this are critical if we are to maximise the economic and environmental benefits that are possible from commercialising home-gown UK technology. Hybrid systems that are enabled by Adelan fuel cell technology will allow us to tap into what is widely expected to become a huge global market.”

Adelan Fuel Cell Technology

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)

Tel: +44 (0)121 427 8033

About Adelan

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 cleanly 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.

 

 

Blog > A simple clean air, low-carbon energy hack

Posted 5 Nov 2019

With the global cleantech sector expected to engage $60 trillion of investments in order to help the world achieve its 2050 carbon targets, why it is that home grown UK cleantech often fails to reach even local markets?

Certainly there is no shortage of commercial opportunity in Birmingham – with the clean air zone, the forthcoming Commonwealth games and HS2 all on the doorstep.  Cleantech firms like fuel cell innovators Adelan should be thriving. But the reality is that home-grown pioneers are not supported to achieve their commercial potential in the UK, due to market bottlenecks and a top-down approach.

This is not because UK companies are sub-standard or their technology innovations do not support vitally important global objectives.

In fact, one of the key reasons is that long-established energy sectors like fossil fuels and nuclear power continue to receive government subsidy, while UK-developed cleantech does not.  Giving this subsidy to fossil energy is supposed to keep people and goods moving, keep energy for businesses competitive and keep the lights on, but that’s not true.  It penalises breakthrough technologies by making them appear more expensive, and slows them from reaching UK markets.

It is clear that to combat climate change more needs to be done to realign market structures. What support is available to help build up clean energy businesses has not generated the right results. In the UK the structures that bind the publicly-funded networks and supporting bodies that do exist mean that only a fraction of any headline public investments reach disruptive innovators themselves. UK growth investment to grow these businesses is needed immediately if they are to reach the necessary scale required.

Dramatic change is possible. Germany alone, for example, recently pledged some $60 million of investment to get back on track with its national climate targets. But Germany’s finance initiative also comes with a series of practical measures designed to target society’s worst carbon excesses. Higher taxes on cars and air travel, cheaper rail tickets, bans on new oil heaters by 2026 and higher carbon prices all feature in this comprehensive programme. Cleaner alternatives are funded to replace them, and ground-up programmes develop promising cleantech until it reaches the market and can commercialise.

In China, and throughout Asia, subsidies play an important role in encouraging businesses to develop cleantech and that structure is yielding results. New analysis from research firm Global Data indicates that China is by far the leader when it comes to rolling out its electric vehicle fleet. It’s way ahead of Europe.

Certainly there are mechanisms by which local market demand could be better connected to local low-carbon and clean energy technology entrepreneurs and businesses.

Green businesses must be more accurately defined and mapped by existing business networks – a business is not just green because it self-defines as eco or green. There are radical businesses that will lead the way towards a new green economy, there are migratory businesses that will adopt and move towards sustainable action, and there are businesses that will fail because they are based on an unsustainable model. The UK has a very poor record in commercialising green tech.

Green and low-carbon leaders must also be supported to create real change. They must be encouraged to share successful case studies. Trials of new technologies developed locally must parallel imported technology programmes – for example, almost all fuel cell and hydrogen technology projects in the UK rely on imported fuel cells. This restricts the skills and talent pipelines in the UK and undermines local cleantech businesses.

To support positive change, the vast public procurement that goes on within the region can be harnessed to rely more on local businesses in sectors that support the local green growth agenda. There are significant existing opportunities to roll out clean technology in the region, but these are currently overlooked and missed.

Such a strategy would accelerate the growth of existing local green and cleantech businesses. Simultaneously it would help to harness resident intellectual capital by allowing universities to support local networks and work with smaller businesses instead of actively courting large corporate entities for vital R&D funding.

There is no time for business as usual. The story of Boulton and Watt provides some important historical context. They succeeded – the backer, the team, the technology and the innovative business model – based on coal efficiency savings. Reduced fossil fuel use is even more urgent today.

Here in Birmingham there is plenty of new funding to explore what should be done, but few schemes directly funding the innovators and businesses that can achieve the necessary change. One highlight is a new West Midlands initiative that Birmingham City Council has launched to engage local cleantech solutions like Adelan fuel cells in defining the Route to Zero Carbon (R20).

Key to solving the city’s climate and clean air challenges will be identifying new funding to resource the innovators and the technologies developed in the city, for the city. Better engagement between local policymakers, businesses and technologists will surely make all the difference. But funding those new relationships – not providing money to fossil energy – must be the priority.

 

Adelan Fuel Cell Technology

About Adelan

First founded in The Midlands, Birmingham-based Adelan pioneered microtubular solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) 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 foot print.

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)

Tel: +44 (0)121 427 8033

 

Blog > Billionaires backing fuel cells

Posted 26 July 2019

Billionaire Elon Musk, the brains behind PayPal, is well known for his interest in clean transport solutions. He’s continued backing Tesla battery electric vehicles, as well as invested heavily in his vacuum tube train system Hyperloop and even space travel. It’s also well known that Musk has a pretty low opinion of fuel cell technologies, even reportedly going so far as to call them ‘fool cells’.

However, while Musk is one high profile billionaire to have written off fuel cells he is very much in the minority. Many others are making plays into the fuel cell technology sector, some with much fan fair and others very discretely and below the radar.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the world’s most wealthy individual, is already investing in FC technology. In May 2019, for example, fuel cell company Plug Power Inc. announced that it has reached an agreement with Amazon to utilize fuel cells and hydrogen technology at select warehouse locations, powering industrial equipment such as forklift trucks. Additionally, under the terms of the deal, Amazon and Plug Power announced they would begin working together on technology collaboration. Bezos has also joined Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma and others in backing a $1 billion low carbon energy technology fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which is supporting a range of low-carbon technologies.

Jim Ratcliffe is the UK’s richest man and a staunch advocate of fuel cell technology.

Even in the UK, the country’s richest man, Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe, is exploring hydrogen fuel cells for his Projekt Grenadier 4×4 vehicle. According to documents seen by Autocar, a potential hydrogen fuel cell version of the vehicle is being planned and an engineering study is scheduled to begin shortly to “assess the feasibility and production of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered 4×4”.

Jo Bamford, son of JCB billionaire Lord Bamford, is also looking at hydrogen and fuels, having recently launched his Ryse Hydrogen Ltd venture aimed at refuelling fuel cell buses and other vehicles.

Cash-rich technology titans like Bezos are not the only ones betting on fuel cell technologies. According to a recent global survey of 1,000 automotive sector executives, more than half identify fuel cell electric vehicles as the number one key trend for transportation until 2025.

The survey, from consultancy firm KPMG, notes that although fully electric drivetrains dominate the rankings, the future technology roadmap is likely to see multiple drivetrain solutions emerge over the coming years. Indeed, the survey is projecting a similar split across battery EVs at 26%, fuel cell EVs at 25%, with internal combustion engines and hybrids on 25% and 24%, respectively, by 2040.

Certainly, like batteries, fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are already a commercial reality.  Fuel cell models are available from manufacturers like Honda, Toyota and Hyundai and many more are set to emerge in the coming years. In particular, the ability of fuel cells to deliver long range and rapid refuelling represents a key advantage over their battery-powered vehicle equivalents. Fuel cells are also able to power heavy duty commercial vehicles, something battery technologies currently cannot do. Perhaps more importantly, fuel cells like the micro-tubular SOFCs pioneered by Adelan have the capability to use existing fuels like LPG that are already commonly available on fuel station forecourts. This eliminates the need for new fuelling or battery charging infrastructure and means that low-emission vehicles can be adopted immediately to address the climate and air quality crisis that is affecting our towns, cities and even our whole planet.

Fuel cells may not appeal to the mercurial Musk, but for all his genius it seems he is distinctly underpowered when it comes to betting on our energy future.

Adelan Fuel Cell Technology

About Adelan

First founded in The Midlands, Birmingham-based Adelan pioneered microtubular solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) 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 foot print.

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)

Tel: +44 (0)121 427 8033


View our Timeline
  • Founded Adelan and made first Zirconia microtubes

  • Built first large demonstrator

  • First sales of demonstrators

  • First large commercial project; lab in Birmingham

  • First small demonstrator

  • The first sale of 250W system and UAV demonstrator

  • Portable Power Pack for camper van demonstrator

    Adelan microtubular solid oxide fuel cell battery range extender

  • Portable Power Pack for LNG truck demonstrator

  • Mobile and nano chargers

  • mCHP demonstrator

View opportunities at Adelan

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