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Reflections on the European Fuel Cell Forum (EFCF) 3-5 July 2019, Luzern, Switzerland

The EFCF alternates between high and low temperature technologies and this year it was the turn of low-temperature fuel cells and water electrolysers. As is often the case at fuel cell meetings, the attendance is very international, including speakers ranging from Europe, Japan, S Korea and the USA. If I could give one piece of advice to presenters at meetings such as this, is that the audience is pretty well educated, no need to rehearse the arguments for the hydrogen-based technologies – once a conference is enough.

It’s 18 years since I last attended the EFCF in Luzern, so I was eager to see what had changed. Lots of new faces as I might have expected, the community does reach across the age spectrum, and the presence of much bigger companies was a big change compared to 2001. There were some notable absences, perhaps affected by the new conferences on the block (ICoE for one) – we can’t attend them all. The exhibition area was similar to the last time I attended, not huge, but for those companies exhibiting they are targeting a very specific market segment.

Some really good talks and as ever, lots of useful discussions during networking. It’s always great to meet up with partners, customers, suppliers and old friends at these events.

Some really good take-aways:

– Academia is still playing catch-up with the technology developers.
– The engagement between academia and industry needs to be more open if we want to make real progress.
– There is still a need for step-changes in these technologies at system, stack and cell levels.
– The industry is becoming more mature, with (some) companies working out what they do well and outsourcing the rest.

Two years to decide whether to return.

D

PV3 Technologies Speaking at Major Water Electrolysis Conferences

In recognition of our leading position in the supply chain we’re presenting at the two major water electrolysis conferences this year. In June, Dr Nick van Dijk (COO), will be speaking at the ‘2nd International Conference on Electrolysis’ in Norway; and in July, Dr David Hodgson (CEO) will speak at the ‘European Fuel Cell Forum’ in Switzerland.

Get in touch using info@pv3technologies.com if you want to learn more and arrange to meet.

Links to the conferences:

https://www.sintef.no/projectweb/ice2019/
https://www.efcf.com/

We have been invited to speak at additional events this summer and as details emerge we’ll post them.

PV3 Technologies Secures Funding Support from European Regional Development Fund, via Aerospace Cornwall

PV3 Technologies has received support for its innovation project to develop advanced coatings for use in lightweight fuel cells of the type used in long range UAV’s. Project ‘Fly’ will focus on innovations that will increase the range of fuel cell-powered UAVs, and the manufacturing technology required to deliver the innovation at large scale.

PV3 Technologies’ CEO, Dr David Hodgson said “This project supports product and manufacturing innovations within our business and will facilitate an entry point into the aerospace sector, something new for PV3 Technologies”

The project will be led by PV3 Technologies’ COO, Dr Nick van Dijk. Nick said “We have an amazing team in PV3 Technologies, that are eager to grasp new challenges such as this. We will leverage our core skills, capabilities and know-how to move into a new industry sector.”

The news about project funding follows on from a successful track record in securing innovation funding for hydrogen, manufacturing and battery projects. PV3 Technologies has recently invested in new laboratory facilities that will be a critical part of this project.

PV3 Technologies acknowledges the financial support of the European Regional Development Fund

A word from our newest team member

As our most recent recruit we asked Ben Johnson to reflect on his first job since leaving university.

Having graduated from the University of Birmingham with a master’s degree in chemistry in July 2018 I was eager to get straight into the workplace to put my knowledge and experience to use. Being located in my home county of Cornwall, PV3 Technologies caught my attention when I saw a vacancy advertised. Having studied chemistry with the intent of working in green chemistry, the position at PV3 Technologies was the ideal opportunity for me, as the main focus within the company is materials for clean energy, ranging from fuel cells to batteries, to water electrolysers.
Just 6 months in and I have been part of, and seen the end of, a variety of projects. From the very beginning I was given the responsibility of quality checking a variety of catalysts, using techniques developed by my new colleagues and before long I was synthesising multiple catalysts for the innovation team to analyse and build on. It was great to be part of the team that manufactured the first commercial-scale batch of a new catalyst we’d developed. Despite my short time working at the company, I feel like from the first day I have had an impact within PV3 Technologies.
The whole innovation team is incredibly helpful and willing to help with any issues and questions I have, no matter how small or obvious the answer may seem. Joining and becoming a valued member of the team has been very easy due to both the friendliness of everybody, and the professional nature of the company.
It’s still a little hard to believe that a world leading company like PV3 Technologies is based in my home county. I feel honoured to be part of this team.

It’s official, PV3 Technologies is the best company in the SW 2018

Well, best micro company to be precise. At the awards ceremony in Oct 2018, we were delighted to be given the award. The judges recognised our commitment to innovation, our desire to scale the business and the commercial success we’ve demonstrated to date.

More to come, so keep an eye on us.

Reflections on FC Expo, Tokyo 2019

A short visit this one, but it didn’t disappoint; this year’s FC Expo was as big as ever. All the big names are still there with FC technology and systems, with a small number of new additions. Interesting to see an increase in the number of water electrolyser companies exhibiting, and to see existing players developing new technologies. China was on everyone’s mind as the place where deployment is accelerating, requiring products and services to help. As usual attendance was international, and world-wide: from west coast Canada to Australia, via Europe.

The supply chain is evident, either exhibiting or in attendance – the Expo is the place to find customers and continue to develop relationships. It seems also to be the place to showcase intent – Australia was evidently eager to demonstrate its intent on hydrogen. The Germany Pavilion was showcasing its capability from research to projects.

Commercial pressures are building, if not already in place. Pricing is becoming more aggressive as everyone looks for greater deployment.

Get in touch if you’d like to know more about PV3 Technologies’ products for water electrolysers and fuel cells.

PV3 Technologies ‘for when materials matter’

Scale-up supports a start-up

PV3 Technologies, a leading supplier of electrochemical materials based in Cornwall and in scale-up phase, is ‘doing its bit’ by incubating graphene company, Amalyst.

One of the key challenges an early-stage company faces, is how to access the infrastructure needed to develop their intellectual property into a market-ready product. Incubators exist for certain sectors, but if a company needs more than a bean bag and a laptop, then it can be challenging.

Amalyst is a member of the EU’s Graphene Flagship, a €1bn programme to ensure the EU can exploit the potential of the ‘wonder material’ first identified by Nobel Prize winners at the University of Manchester. Collaborating with partners in the UK, France and Italy, Amalyst is working to develop advanced catalysts for the fuel cell industry based on graphene and other 2D materials.

Dr David Hodgson, CEO of PV3 Technologies commented: “The board of Amalyst were delighted with the prospect of working out of PV3’s laboratories. The ability to tap into PV3’s unrivalled expertise in the sector, to provide access to a unique suite of equipment and to supervise and mentor Amalyst staff were crucial elements of the decision. “

“Following-on from the launch of the Davy Initiative, an industry-led drive to promote the Cornish capability in electrochemistry and related materials, this is a further signal that Cornwall has a lot to offer to the world of electrochemistry. This arrangement is bringing additional employment opportunities to Cornwall in the world of 2D materials – does it get more exciting?”

“The arrangement is not without its challenges,” said PV3 Technologies’ COO Dr Nick van Dijk. “Our two companies are working in similar fields, so we’ve had to agree a very defined scope of activities, but the similarity also means we can leverage the work of both companies and we have arrangements for cross-licensing of IP in place, should we need them”

“I’m pleased we’ve been able to make this work,” said Hodgson. “Having done this once, PV3 would be eager to see if we could do it again and would welcome discussions with universities, or other researchers looking to spin-out their electrochemical ideas.”

New Appointment

Dr James Courtney joined the PV3 Technologies team today as Applications Scientist. James brings to the team a wide experience of fuel cells, batteries and materials chemistry.

This new role was created due to increased demand from customers for bespoke product developments. Dr Nick van Dijk, PV3 Technologies’ COO said “James will focus on customer-driven innovation, providing even better customer service to new and existing customers”.

James said “I’m delighted to be joining PV3 Technologies at such an exciting time”.

Enquiries to info@pv3technologies.com

A Successful Davy Initiative Workshop

A successful Davy Initiative workshop for PV3 Technologies and the University of Exeter

PV3 Technologies and the University of Exeter launched The Davy Initiative in Cornwall on the 1st February 2018, with the workshop acting as a platform to bring together the major regional players in electrochemistry.
A real cross-section of talent, the workshop played host to professionals covering all corners of the industry, from minerals to systems and projects.
What followed was a successful day of networking, knowledge sharing and the pinpointing of a real commercial opportunity for Cornwall going forward.

Why was the Davy Initiative Workshop launched?

The Davy Initiative’s primary objective is to help Cornish organisations gain economic value from the increasing growth of electrochemistry’s usage in energy storage, clean fuels and med-tech. PV3 Technologies aims to drive this by raising awareness of the capability, activity and exciting potential in the county.

The workshop: collaborating with a common goal

The first speakers, reviewing the national and regional political landscapes, of the day were Cornwall Development Company, Innovate UK and the University of Warwick. The theme was very much on highlighting national and regional strategies, as well as innovation support and new opportunities in battery technology for the electrification of vehicles, which mainly resulted from the Faraday Challenge.
PV3 Technologies, along with a whole host of like-minded organisations, including Hitachi, Cornish Lithium, Cornwall New Energy, and the University of Exeter, highlighted the current capability in Cornwall and the surrounding region. A lively, positive Q&A session between the panel, Chair and audience immediately followed.
Everyone in attendance was eager, enthusiastic and ready to take hold of new opportunities in the area, so naturally there was an abundance of interaction throughout the day. With ad-hoc debates and discussion sessions taking place, people had to be dragged away from coffee and lunch breaks, which was a testament to the strength of the day’s networking.

An overall success – thanks to all that attended

David Hodgson, CEO of PV3 Technologies, said:
‘The whole day was a huge success in many ways, but I found two things particularly exciting about the workshop. The first big achievement was how we managed to bring together previously unconnected companies through a shared common interest. The second fantastic result was identifying a real strategic commercial opportunity for Cornwall – which looks to progress and develop further over the coming months.’
The immediate feedback has been extremely positive, and already there are tangible actions underway, setting even more resource sharing and collaboration in motion. We all agreed that this should be the first, and not the last, Davy Initiative Workshop.
David added: ‘Finally – I must say that the support from the University of Exeter in organising this event has been fantastic – thanks Hollie, Jaime and Jim.’