(Bloomberg) — AFC Energy Plc, a U.K. fuel-cell maker
backed by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, is talking to 10
to 12 companies with “household names” over setting up
partnerships to help it push the technology to market.
AFC is targeting the U.S., South Korea and Southeast Asia
where there’s support for fuel cells, Chief Executive Officer
Adam Bond said in an interview in London. The first deals from
the talks should be in place within the next quarter, he said.
The company’s fuel cells, which convert oxygen and hydrogen
into power and heat, are for industrial and utility-scale sites.
Unlike wind and solar, they provide a continuous power supply.
Tie-ups will vary depending on the needs of the partners.
“We could sell equity stakes in AFC, form joint ventures,
act as a tolling agent where we process the hydrogen for a fee
and sell the power back to the grid, or process the hydrogen and
sell electricity back to the company,” Bond said.
Since becoming CEO in December, Bond has brought forward a
timeline for commercial deployment of AFC’s systems by more than
18 months. It plans to install a first commercial unit at an Air
Products & Chemicals Inc. site in Germany in December.
“AFC has been working on research and development of its
fuel-cell technology since 2006 and it’s now time to bring it to
market and return some value to shareholders,” Bond said.
It plans to install 50 to 100 megawatts in five years, with
possible sales of more than 20 million pounds ($31 million) a
year. It’s also looking to grow beyond chemicals to industries
such as refining and steelmaking, as well as homes, Bond said.
AFC in July agreed to two deals to install units in South
Korea. It raised 6.1 million pounds in October from investors
including Abramovich’s Ervington Investments Ltd., which now
owns more than 15 percent of the business.
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Louise Downing in London at
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
Tony Barrett, Indranil Ghosh