Startup looks to license first hydrogen-powered electric car charger

January 21, 2019 //By Nick Flaherty
Adam Bond, AFC Energy CEO, charges BMW i8 with world's first fuel cell EV charging system at event in Dunsfold Park, Surrey
AFC Energy in the UK has demonstrated what it believes to be the the world’s first electric vehicle charger based on hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

The demonstration of AFC Energy’s CH 2ARGE system took place at Dunsfold Aerodrome, charging a BMW i8 as the first ever car to be recharged with power generated by a hydrogen fuel cell. The charger uses a fuel cell with an inverter to charge vehciles, using a 48V battery pack to meet peak power requirements. 

The demonstration system was sized to provide sufficient power to charge two EVs concurrently at recharging levels 1, 2 or 3. The system’s 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.

After 10 years of fuel cell research development, the company 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. The UK government is aiming for half of all new car sales to be EVs by 2030, which will see nine million EVs on the road. By 2040, 100% of new car sales are planned to be EVs leading to the entirety of the UK’s fleet of 36 million cars becoming EVs.

To recharge the fleet of EVs, the UK National Grid estimates show this will require generation to be increased by 8GW, while calculations by AFC Energy show that if one in 10 of the EVs is being recharged simultaneously in the UK would have a peak demand surge of 25.7 GW based on an average EV battery of 57 kWh. This maximum peak demand equates to approximately half the UK current generational requirement and is the equivalent of 7.9 new nuclear power stations or 17,100 wind turbines. Popular venues such as sports centres, stadiums and supermarkets will also have to scale up EV recharging solutions; a scenario where 25% of vehicles are EVs and

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