Original Article: Adelan Chamberlink Feb 2020 – Green Business
Posted 10 March 2020
Pioneering fuel cell company Adelan is keeping Birmingham’s rich engineering heritage alive and well with its remarkable energy technology innovation. Fuel cells are already known as the cleanest possible technology for dependable and reliable electricity generation, and as such are set to play a major role in addressing issues such as urban air quality and climate change. With its unique microtubular solid oxide fuel cell (mSOFC) technology though, Adelan’s unique approach delivers key advantages even over other types of fuel cell system.
Adelan fuel cells are ideal as a diesel replacement, and much cheaper to run on cheaper, cleaner gas. Unlike other kinds of fuel cell which require pure hydrogen fuel, Adelan’s quiet, compact and efficient fuel cells use readily available infrastructure fuels such as LPG or propane. As a result, the company’s mSOFC technology can act as a stepping stone towards the low-carbon and clean hydrogen economy of the future.
In addition to its ability to operate on infrastructure hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas – as well as hydrogen if it is available – there are general criteria that make Adelan mSOFCs especially competitive. These include efficient generation of heat and power, quick start times, as well as quiet and low-emission operations.
The Adelan mSOFC system is stackable and scalable from small light-weight, portable applications like battery chargers right up to grid-connected power stations. Unmanned airborne vehicles, recreational vehicles, portable power, electric vehicles, remote power and micro combined heat and power (mCHP) have all emerged in recent years as strong growth markets for Adelan.
Founded by Professor Kevin Kendall FRS and Dr Michaela Kendall, the company specialises in the production of clean energy systems for portable or stationary, off-grid applications. Adelan is still run by its founders, and a growing team of young talented scientists and engineers is led by CEO Dr Michaela Kendall. It is the only fuel cell company in the world headed by a female scientist.
With one of the longest running fuel cell R&D programmes in the world – and the longest running fuel cell company in Britain, established in 1996 – Adelan’s core microtubular solid oxide fuel cell (mSOFC) technology was pioneered and patented by the Kendalls since 1992. Progressive development to reduce manufacturing costs and improve primary performance criteria has resulted in favourable key performance indicators for Adelan fuel cells in terms of lifetime, energy density and cost. Accelerating commercial product development through component and system cost reduction, Adelan continues to optimise its mSOFC technology from materials to design specifications. Fundamental knowledge, continuous innovation, 25+ years of experience and a global network make Adelan a unique player in an embryonic market.
Indeed, as the leading global microtubular SOFC developer and the first company to develop mSOFC products, Adelan built global commercial credibility for the core technology by developing, demonstrating and selling compact, portable power products. Adelan has the experience, skills and capabilities to design, develop and implement micro-power solutions for a range of applications and has produced numerous demonstrators since the company was founded. For example, Adelan built the world’s first portable, rapid-starting SOFC system fuelled by gas.
Working through direct sales and collaborative partnerships with industrial players while engaging with both private and public sector clients, Adelan attracted significant inward investment from global markets such as the US, China and Europe, which are looking to develop new clean, green energy market opportunities.
New partners, such as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) wishing to produce portable, mobile or off-grid products or services, may license IP or engage in a technology development partnership. Meanwhile, new IP, applications and geographical markets continue to emerge, seeking a low carbon technical solution.
With expert industry knowledge, global networks and an unrivalled understanding of the SOFC market, Adelan’s heritage of continuous technology research and development allows the company to leverage its experience for clients by engaging in bespoke R&D projects. Adelan was also a founding member of the European Industry Grouping for the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).
Adelan’s key market is the rapidly expanding decentralised power sector, a global, scalable market ripe for rapid, clean growth and driven by worldwide issues such as climate change and urban air quality.
Clean, efficient, flexible and scalable, Adelan technology represents a significant opportunity to address growing environmental, regulatory and energy security concerns. With decades’ of technology experience, the Adelan team is working to develop micro-power solutions to today’s energy challenges, bringing investment, jobs and economic growth to the West Midlands. Birmingham is once again an energy technology powerhouse.