UK-based AFC Energy announced the successful demonstration of CH2ARGE, the world’s first electric vehicle charger based on hydrogen fuel-cell technology. The breakthrough by the UK-based energy technology company previewed the potential to enable 100% clean electricity for future EV charging.
The demonstration of the CH2ARGE unit took place at Dunsfold Aerodrome, home to the BBC Top Gear test track, and saw a BMW i8 as the first ever car to be recharged with power generated by a hydrogen fuel cell. The innovation takes place after 10 years of fuel cell research development at the AFC Energy laboratories.
Having now demonstrated proof-of-concept of the CH2ARGE prototype, AFC Energy is preparing for the commercialisation of fuel cell-based EV Charge solutions to meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly power in the EV market. Traditional charging causes pollution with electricity from fossil fuels, but AFC Energy’s CH2ARGE system can be 100% emissions free.
With the rapid growth in the international EV market and ambitious Government targets for EV deployment over the short term, UBS, the global investment bank, has forecast the investment required in new charging infrastructure to be in the order of US$360bn over the next eight years.
In the UK alone, were the Government to deliver on its policy of 50% of new car sales being EVs by 2030 and 100% by 2040, the National Grid forecasts there will be 36 million EVs on the road – up from c.200,000 today. If one in 10 of these EVs are being recharged simultaneously, the UK’s future fleet of 36 million EVs would have a forecast peak demand surge of 25.7 GW based on today’s average EV battery size: that’s almost 8 new nuclear power stations or 98 London Array offshore wind farms. This is before consideration is given to the requisite investment needed across the national transmission and distribution networks to handle potentially large surges in peak power demand.
AFC Energy’s CH2ARGE system is working to provide a solution to these potential future challenges and its CH2ARGE unit has the potential to deliver locally-generated electricity through thousands of installations that generate 100% clean electricity.
“By 2030, it is estimated that there could be nine million electric vehicles on the roads of Britain, up from 90,000 today,” said Adam Bond, Chief Executive Officer at AFC Energy. “For this transition, we need charging stations to be embedded throughout the country, as well as seeking innovative solutions to overcome the severe limitations of centrally generated electricity. 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.”
CH2ARGE incorporates AFC Energy’s proprietary hydrogen fuel cell system connected to an inverter similar to those used by Toyota at their Electric Vehicle research centre. The inverter transfers energy created by the fuel cell to a charger. The system on preview is supported by a 48V battery pack to assist with peak power demands. The solution can also be tailored for both on and off grid applications and scaled up as required.
The fuel cell is sized to provide sufficient power to charge EVs concurrently and can be scaled up to provide solutions for mass recharging at supermarkets, retail venues and sports stadiums. The inverters are controlled via AFC Energy’s fuel cell control system which ensures the safe and precise control of the complete setup. Being integrated into AFC Energy’s control system means that product solutions can be implemented with Smart Charging capabilities.
AFC Energy’s CH2ARGE system highlights the versatility and adaptability of the Company’s core fuel cell technology and builds on a number of announced and unannounced deployment opportunities currently under development by the Company.[source: AFC Energy]