ABB expands partnership with investment in AFC Energy to further progress fuel cell innovation

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With an ever-strengthening commitment to sustainability, ABB and AFC Energy will partner on the testing and integration of fuel cells as part of the wider power portfolio for eMobility solutions and now also for data centers.

ABB announced a strategic investment and development agreement with AFC Energy to further the advancement of fuel cell technology integration into its high-growth eMobility and data center segments.

In 2020, ABB announced the launch of a strategic partnership with AFC Energy to create the next generation of high power sustainable electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions for grid constrained locations. Building on that collaboration, ABB and AFC Energy signed a new Development Agreement to test, design and integrate AFC Energy’s alkaline fuel cell technology into ABB’s data center system portfolio.

The goal of the partnership is to work towards a zero emission, sustainable turn-key power solution for the growing number of current and prospective data centers currently servicing the world’s data storage and processing requirements. End-user spending on global data center infrastructure is projected to increase 6 percent in 2021 from the previous year[1].

Frank Muehlon, President of ABB’s eMobility division, said:

“The investment in AFC Energy brings an opportunity to further the advancement of groundbreaking technologies that can ultimately enable a wider reach to remote off-grid locations. AFC Energy’s goals to deliver clean energy solutions perfectly align with ABB’s commitment to innovation and enabling low carbon societies, making them an ideal solution partner.”

In addition to the eMobility collaboration, the two companies will partner in the assessment of data center power design principles and system operability, reviewing interfaces between fuel cell, energy storage, electrical equipment, switchgear and control infrastructure.  Testing using real-time data center simulation techniques will also be adopted.

“Embarking on this new collaboration with AFC Energy opens the possibility to integrate its impressive fuel cell technology with ABB’s strong data center solutions,” said Brian Johnson, ABB Data Center Segment Head. “Partnering with like-minded companies such as AFC Energy, further supports ABB’s dedication to delivering cutting-edge technologies to help data center customers meet their sustainability goals through a multi-fuel approach.”

Over the past 25 years, ABB has been a market leader in the design and delivery of innovative, efficient and sustainable data center electrical solutions, working with many of the world’s largest hyperscale and colocation data center operators to drive down energy consumption and improve security of power supply.

AFC Energy is a leading provider of hydrogen power generation technology, which can provide clean electricity for on and off grid applications. The company’s standard solution provides power for charging infrastructure where traditionally a diesel generator would be used.

Adam Bond, Chief Executive Officer at AFC Energy, said: 

"We are delighted that our partnership with ABB continues to expand into new and emerging fields such as eMobility and data centers. Through the investment made into AFC Energy today, we are confident that ABB’s existing market leading position in these sectors will be further enhanced by the integration of our leading alkaline fuel cell technology.  We continue to receive strong customer enquiries into our partnership from all over the world, confirming we are working with the right partners, on the right technology, at the right time to support society’s accelerated drive towards a more sustainable world.”

[1] Gartner Says Worldwide Data Center Infrastructure Spending to Grow 6% in 2021