AFC Energy (LSE:AFC) rose 11.2pc to 6.3pc on Thursday after successfully demonstrating its hydrogen electric vehicle (EV) charger. The business previewed its CH2ARGE technology at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, home of the BBC Top Gear test track. CH2ARGE was used to power a BMW i8, which AFC says is the first time in history that electricity generated from a hydrogen fuel cell has powered a vehicle.
The firm will now start preparing to commercialise its fuel call-based EV charging solutions. It aims to meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly power in the EV market.
According to UBS, investments into new charging infrastructure could reach $360bn over the next eight years. This is expected to be driven by rapid growth in the international EV market and ambitious short government targets for EV usage in the short-term. For example, the UK government expects 50pc of new car sales to be EVs by 2030 and 100pc by 2040. If this were to occur, there would be around 36 million EVs on the road, up from 200,000 today.
The UK’s National Grid believes this growth could create a power supply issue. It estimates that if just one in ten of these EVs were recharged simultaneously, it would create a peak demand surge of 25.7 gigawatts. That equates to almost eight new nuclear power stations or 98 offshore wind farms. It would also require vast sums of investment across national transmission and distribution networks.
AFC believes that it can provide a solution to the environmental issues these future challenges could throw up. It says that, while traditional charging causes pollution by using electricity from fossil fields, CH2ARGE can be entirely emissions-free. Indeed, according to the business, the units can deliver locally-generated electricity through thousands of installations that generate 100pc clean power.
Adam Bond, chief executive at AFC, said its product could help to overcome the ‘severe limitations’ of centrally-generated electricity as EV usage grows.
‘By developing and previewing the effectiveness of our CH2ARGE system in the application of EV charging, AFC Energy has shown it is ready to lead the way not only in solving the challenges of increased demand for electricity, but also doing so in a zero emissions approach,’ he added.
CH2ARGE incorporates AFC Energy’s proprietary hydrogen fuel cell system, connecting it to an inverter similar to those used by Toyota at its EV research centre. The inverter transfers energy created by the fuel cell to a charger.
As it stands, the fuel cell is sized to provide sufficient power to charge EVs concurrently. However, beyond this, AFC said it could be scaled up to provide clean energy solutions for mass recharging. This could enable its use at supermarkets, retail venues, and sports stadiums.