Excellent summary of what Advent does:
The Fuel Cell Industry
Fuel cell and hydrogen technology is expected to play a critical role in global decarbonization given the clean nature of emissions from hydrogen and hydrogen-carrier fuels relative to fossil fuels. In addition, the challenges associated with existing battery technology limit it from mass adoption across industries. Globally, an average of $38 billion per annum is expected to be invested in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector between 2020 and 2040 with the goal of significantly increasing production capacity while lowering the cost of production. While the availability of hydrogen limited the fuel cell industry in the past, it is now expected to become an opportunity for growth, particularly in sectors such as industrials, power generation and automotive.
Within the fuel cell market, Advent’s products have significant advantages relative to its competitors that are focused on low-temperature proton exchange membrane technology (“LT-PEM” or “LT-PEMs”). The Company believes these advantages will help Advent secure commercial opportunities in the fuel cell market and help drive wide-spread adoption of fuel cell technology. The benefits of Advent’s HT-PEMs relative to LT-PEMs include:
Advent has developed its products under the principle of “Any Fuel. Anywhere.” which can be distilled into the two components:
1) Any Fuel: While LT-PEMs require high-purity hydrogen to operate, Advent’s HT-PEMs can utilize low cost and abundant hydrogen-carrier fuels, including methanol, natural gas, e-fuels, liquid organic hydrogen carriers, dimethyl ether, and renewable biofuels. The infrastructure required for clean energy powered solely by high-purity hydrogen would cost trillions of dollars. In contrast, many of the hydrogen-carrier fuels can use existing or in-development infrastructure and have a much lower transport cost than hydrogen. This key technology differentiator bypasses the need to commit to a specific energy distribution network and leverages existing infrastructure. Most importantly, it provides an immediately serviceable market today, while Advent believes many LT-PEM competitors may have to wait another decade for the availability of green, high-purity, inexpensive hydrogen, and potentially longer for the maturity of hydrogen transportation and storage networks. Given the urgency to decarbonize power generation, and the investment challenges faced by developing countries, Advent expects methanol to have an increasingly significant role as a liquid hydrogen carrier and a low or no carbon dioxide emission alternative to oil.
2) Anywhere: Advent’s HT-PEM fuel cells have the ability to operate in a variety of practical conditions, including a wide range of geographies, weather, ambient temperatures (as low as -20oC and up to +55oC), and in humid or polluted environments. LT-PEM fuel cells, on the other hand, tend to struggle in the heat, can be damaged by dry climates, or polluted air, and cannot handle impurities of the hydrogen supply. LT-PEM technology is intolerant to CO damage (with performance degradation at levels as low as 10 ppm), while HT-PEM can withstand 1-4% CO concentrations, depending on temperature and operation. For example, readily available low-cost hydrogen can be made with 1-2% carbon monoxide (20,000ppm), which works well with HT- PEMs. LT-PEM loses performance with only 10ppm of carbon monoxide. The relative durability of Advent’s products in a range of environments also provides a longer life of operation relative to LT-PEM fuel cells.
Advent’s HT-PEM technology significantly reduces the balance of plant requirements of a fuel cell system relative to LT-PEM fuel cells. This means that fuel cells using Advent’s HT-PEMs have simplified requirements for supporting components and auxiliary systems, which enables reduced cost and increases application range for the end-user. It does this through two methods:
1) Superior Heat Management: HT-PEM fuel cells operate at high temperatures (between 160°C and 220°C, with next-generation MEA-based fuel cells operating between 80°C and 240°C). Therefore, the temperature differential between a HT-PEM fuel cell and the outside environment is large. As a result, only a small radiator, similar or smaller than the radiator in an ICE vehicle, is needed to transfer heat away from the fuel cell stack. Conversely, because LT-PEM fuel cells run relatively cooler (under 85°C), a significantly larger radiator is required to effectively maintain suitable operating temperatures and conditions for an LT-PEM fuel cell.
2)Water Management Issues: HT-PEM fuel cells use phosphoric acid as an electrolyte rather than water-assisted membranes. Therefore, they reduce the need for water balance and other compensating engineering systems
Advent’s core product offering includes:
1. Systems: Fuel cells for portable and stationary applications of power generation, in the range of 20W to 20kW. These fuel cells have applications in the telecom tower (e.g. 5G, 4G) power, surveillance, defense (and other portable power applications), energy (and other critical) infrastructure, and auxiliary power (marine, leisure) markets. Advent fuel cells are manufactured in the U.S., Denmark, and Germany. Fuel cell systems provide the majority of Advent’s current revenue.
2. The next generation of Advent fuel cells, in the 15kW to 1MW range, is expected to target the mobility sector (e.g., heavy-duty automotive, mining equipment, marine, aerospace, and unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAV”)). The Company is planning to enter into joint development agreements with Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs to bring HT-PEM fuel cells to the mobility market. Advent intends to be a provider of MEAs and core technology via licensing, rather than producing end-products for the mobility industry. Revenue from joint development agreements may include engineering fees during the 1-3 year initial development cycle, MEA sales, and on-going licensing fees.
3. Advent is a developer of the key component of the fuel cell, the MEA. The operation of the MEA is key to the functionality and characteristics of a fuel cell system. The Advent MEA enables a robust, long-lasting, and ultimately low-cost fuel cell product, relative to LT-PEM technologies. In addition to Advent's fuel cell system offerings, the Advent MEA is also a discrete product offering to third-party fuel cell manufacturers. MEA sales are expected to be a rapidly growing market in the future as more and more fuel cells are deployed globally by third parties, especially in the mobility space.
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