CASE STUDY - ACAL ENERGY
WHAT IS MATERIALS CHEMISTRY?
INNOVATIONS IN ELECTROCHEMICAL SYSTEMS
ACAL Energy Ltd is pioneering new fuel cells, with new materials at the heart of the company’s advances. It has designed the first low-cost, high-performance hydrogen fuel cell for automotive and stationary power markets. Conventional proton exchange membrane fuel cells suffer from a number of weaknesses. Most significantly, they are too expensive for mass production and the durability of components is poor.
ACAL Energy turned to materials chemistry to find solutions to these problems by looking at the reaction between oxygen and electrodes. Through the KCMC, the collaborated with the Centre for Materials Discovery at The University of Liverpool. They developed a liquid phase oxygen catalyst that replaced costly platinum with a much more cost-effective polyoxometallate system, which also generated a higher redox potential.
Dr Andy Creeth, Chief Technology Officer, explains how working with the KCMC has led to new partnerships.
“We brought in expertise from a number of disciplines. Engineers helped us develop the system of pumps, physicists worked on the reactions occurring to generate the energy, and materials chemists were behind the new catalyst. The KCMC really understands what industry is about.”