AFC Energy starts its first ammonia-to-hydrogen cracker demonstration plant

AFC Energy, a UK-based provider of hydrogen power generation technologies, has launched its first ammonia-to-hydrogen cracker demonstration plant.

Courtesy of AFC Energy

The plant, designed, built and commissioned by AFC Energy, is located in the UK and the ammonia is sourced from OCI Global, a producer and distributor of hydrogen-based products. It is said to be the world’s largest ammonia-to-hydrogen modular cracker demonstration in operation.

According to AFC Energy, the plant will now be operated and validated over several months with targeted ISO-grade (99.97%) hydrogen production.

The hydrogen produced from the plant could be supplied to customers of the company’s H-Power Generators (including Speedy Hydrogen Solutions) and third-party customers.

Designed to produce fuel cell grade hydrogen at a rate of 400 kg/day, AFC Energy said its cracker system consumes a small fraction of the power consumed by electrolyzers, highlighting an ideal distributed hydrogen source potential, whether for use in stationary or maritime applications.

The company’s newest cracker technology advancements, whose purity was validated by the UK’s National Physical Laboratory earlier in 2023, are expected to be retrofitted into the demonstration plant in 2024, replacing the existing cracker technology, the company said, adding that this is expected to further improve cost and efficiency performance.

AFC Energy further revealed that engineering will start in 2024 to containerize the ammonia cracker platform, including purification technology, to enable mobile, distributed hydrogen production at the point of consumption with an initial focus on European and Asian markets. The containerized cracker platform is then expected to become a standalone product capable of being sold to hydrogen consumers.

The company said it also expects to commence cracking green ammonia for the next stage of the project.

Adam Bond, Chief Executive of AFC Energy, commented: “AFC Energy’s first pilot project is a major step forward in unlocking the barriers of hydrogen logistics and transport. The cracker system, in containerized form, will be capable of replication across Europe and Asia with our ability to generate low-cost, decarbonized hydrogen from internationally traded green and blue ammonia being a key step forward in the evolution of the global hydrogen market.”

To note, AFC Energy said that the emergence of its ammonia cracking technology, alongside its existing fuel cell technology, has the potential to deliver material value and the company is exploring options to ensure the material value potential is properly recognized to the benefit of shareholders through industry partnerships and other strategic avenues.