AFC Energy (LON:AFC) , the AIM quoted cleantech group behind the development of alkaline fuel cells, has signed a binding Heads of Terms agreement with German company N2telligence GmbH over the use of alkaline fuel cells for fire protection. N2telligence has developed a system of using nitrogen rich exhaust air from fuel cells as a means of reducing the risk of fire in the likes of data centres, archives and museums. Under the terms of the agreement the two sides will work together on an exclusive basis, whereby AFC will only supply the exhaust air from its alkaline fuel cell systems to N2telligence for fire protection and low oxygen environments and N2telligence will only source alkaline fuel cell exhaust air from AFC’s alkaline fuel cell systems for fire protection and low oxygen environments.
N2telligence has licensed patents from Airbus in order to develop fire protection systems that create low oxygen environments. One of the company’s systems creates a low oxygen environment in a room reducing it from approximately 21% to 15%. At this level the air is still breathable but an open fire cannot spread. Both parties believe that as this method of fire protection becomes more widespread it is likely to be actively supported by insurance companies and could be reflected in lower insurance premiums for those that adopt it.
Ian Balchin, the deputy chairman of AFC, said: “The innovation at N2telligence opens up another avenue for AFC Energy’s fuel cells. Our alkaline fuel cell is being developed as a method of generating cost effective, clean electricity at up to 60% electrical efficiency. It also produces water and heat, now there are applications for the exhaust air and through N2telligence all of these have a commercial value.
Shares in AFC leapt from 17p to 75p last October on news that the company’s fuel cell technology had been chosen as a key component in a clean coal proposal for a project based in the North East of England. That move was part of an ongoing partnership between AFC, B9 Coal Ltd and Linc Energy (ASX:LNC), which together are proposing to build the first large scale demonstration of alkaline fuel cell technology in a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project. Later that month, Linc Energy contributed £3 million as part of an overall £4 million share placing by AFC and exercised its option to extend in perpetuity its worldwide exclusive rights to use and operate AFC fuel cells in conjunction with underground coal gasification and to use AFC fuel cells in any commercial or research application in Australia. The AFC share price rose by 1.25p to 53.75p today.
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