China continues to invest in the future of hydrogen fuel cells for distributed power and electric vehicles. In order to scale up, Chinese investors are looking outward for partnerships across Europe, North America and Asia.
In recent years a small Bend, Oregon company has emerged as a key partner for Chinese companies involved hydrogen fuel cells. Element 1 designs and develops scalable, low cost, on-demand hydrogen generators. The company is led by co-founder and CEO Dr. David Edlund who worked in hydrogen fuel cells for decades including positions within Ballard, IdaTech and Protonex.
Element 1’s approach as a technology developer with a partnership and licensing approach seems ideal for Chinese companies looking to gain access to on-demand hydrogen generation systems. For Element 1 the near time opportunity is hydrogen fuel cells as a foundation for distributed power for China’s three million telecommunication towers.
The company has announced two significant Joint Ventures with Chinese companies in 2018:
Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Remote Telecom Equipment
Aqueous Hydrogen Energy
In May 2017, Element 1 signed an agreement with to develop a Joint Venture (JV). China Aqueous Group (CAG) announce that they have reached 30/70 equity agreement to form a Joint Venture (JV) Company named Aqueous Hydrogen Energy Limited (AHE). The joint venture will merge e1’s hydrogen generation with CAG’s fuel cells to create power solutions for a market of 3 million telecom base stations.
According to the JV’s press release, sales for AHE fuel cell power systems are expected to be greater than 10,000 units annually within the next four to five years.
Zhejiang Element One New Energy Technology
In early July 2018, announced a second Chinese Joint Venture with Shanghai Dingzan Equity Fund Management Co., Ltd. (Dingzan). The company will be named Zhejiang Element One New Energy Technology Co., Ltd.
According to the JV Press Release: Under the terms of the Joint Venture Agreement, e1 personnel will provide technical and engineering services and support through Zhejiang Element One New Energy Technology Co. The announced JVCo will engage firms directly throughout China who desire to license e1’s world class proprietary hydrogen generation technology for clean energy applications such as power for telecom base stations and for transportation related applications such as fuel cell powered buses, trucks, automobiles, and marine vessels, all of which require hydrogen fuel.
Benny Weng, the CEO of Dingzan, said, “e1 owns advanced technologies and products in the hydrogen generation sector. The business model is quite efficient to develop the fast-growing China market. I believe Zhejiang Element One will be the leader in the hydrogen industry in China, helping the sector move forward.” He added, “We are going to seek more opportunities in manufacturing business besides the current technology licensing program in order to generate revenues faster and healthier. With heavy local connections and capital market help, we are confident to build up a star company with e1 team.”
March 2018 – Element 1 Announces Hydrogen Generator for Materials Handling FCEVs
L-Series product line has a production capacity of 50 to 500 kilograms of hydrogen per day, from methanol/water feedstock, making it capable of fueling 20 to 200 fuel-cell lift trucks every 24 hours. e1’s unique and proprietary hydrogen generation technology provides for compact size and unparalleled ease in terms of logistics, siting, and installation.
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