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AFC Energy and Dutco mull MENA fuel cell venture

The two companies will also explore the potential for a regional power utility using fuel cells

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Alkaline fuel cell developer AFC Energy (LON:AFC) has agreed in principle to work with Dubai-based Dutco on the large-scale deployment of fuel cells across the Middle East.

The two companies will work on a business plan to define a commercial strategy ahead of what is expected to be the formation of a joint venture between the two companies across the Arab states, according to a report by Proactive Investors.

AFC believes that on its own the venture may meet and possibly exceed its target for 1 gigawatt (Gw) of fuel cell capacity to be installed by the end of 2020.

The two companies will also explore the potential for a regional power utility using fuel cells.

Dutco has been responsible for many high profile infrastructure and construction developments across the Gulf region.

The signed heads of agreement offers the offers the opportunity create a sizeable business platform for the deployment of fuel cells on an unprecedented scale, said Adam Bond, AFC's chief executive.

There is an enormous near-term opportunity to deploy alkaline fuel cell technology into the growing clean energy portfolio of projects being supported in the Middle East, he added.

"Dutco and AFC are already in dialogue with several of the Middle East's largest energy and utility groups to assess the opportunity for not only the supply of clean power to the region, but also significant quantities of clean water.”

Deploying fuel cells plants across the Middle East may not be quite a case of “taking coals to Newcastle”, but it does seem odd, given the region’s abundant energy reserves.

A spokesman for AFC Energy agreed it initially seems odd that the Middle East should be at the forefront of deploying renewable energy technology, but explained that the region had the funds to finance the necessary infrastructure, while it was also cognisant of the need to diversify away from oil, which is a finite resource.

“They have a lot of gas, and are really driving the renewable technology revolution,” the spokesman asserted.
Shares in AFC were up 0.8% in a falling market at 32.875p in lunchtime trading.

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