UK Design: Acal Energy profile
Fuel cell company Acal Energy was founded in 2004 to develop a technology discovered by Andrew Creeth. Creeth’s idea was to replace air as the oxygen delivery mechanism with an oxidised liquid, now branded FlowCath, for a hydrogen fuel cell.
“The system is analogous to the human arterial system where oxygen in air is absorbed in the blood: oxygen in air is absorbed in the liquid catholyte,” said a company spokesman. “Blood is pumped to the muscles; FlowCath is pumped to the fuel cells. Oxygen is exchanged with cells giving energy, water and CO²; oxygen is exchanged in the cell giving electricity, heat and water.”
The technology has been developed into systems for field trials which Acal claims demonstrate equivalent performance with conventional fuel cells but at a lower cost and with improved durability – with cost and durability enhancements through a 75% reduction in platinum catalyst and a reduction in the cell membrane stresses during operation.
Acal has just completed a £3m funding round, and has also received £850,000 funding from the Carbon Trust from its PEM Fuel Cell Challenge competition. .
“The unique nature of FlowCath allows for the same cell design to be used in both auto and stationary applications,” said the spokesman. “It is also makes the system scalable from under 1kW to over 100kW with the capability to achieve market-determined cost targets at lower volumes when compared with other fuel cell technologies.”