17 September 2019, the ground was broken for the construction of the world’s largest methanol fuel cell factory at the Port of Aalborg. The factory covers 5,285 m2 and will have a yearly production capacity of 750 MW, equivalent to 50,000 fuel cell units. The groundbreaking is an important milestone in realising the vision of Blue World Technologies: to be the leading supplier of methanol fuel cells and eventually to retire the combustion engine.
Only 11 months ago did Blue World Technologies see the light of day, and since then there have been many milestones leading up to this day where Blue World Technologies gathered partners, stakeholders, friends and colleagues from the industry for the celebration of the groundbreaking of the production facilities that – over the coming months – will be built at the Port of Aalborg.
Since Blue World Technologies was founded, the company has grown from a team consisting of the three founders to a team of 37 people, and each month new colleagues are joining the mission. When reaching full production in 2023-24, it is expected that the team will have grown to more than 500 people. In early spring 2019, Blue World Technologies closed a successful seed-round investment, and currently, the company is in the process of the next investment round which is expected to close within the next couple of months.
The construction of the new production facilities is expected to be finished by the end of Q1 2020, after which the installation of the highly automated production equipment will begin. The production is planned to start in the late summer of 2020 and from then ramp-up to reach full production capacity in 2023-24. The production will primarily focus on the key fuel cell components such as the bipolar plates, membranes and electrodes.
A green alternative for the automotive industry
Worldwide, there is a strong focus on finding green alternatives to fossil-fuelled combustion engines in the transportation sector. The methanol fuel cell technology provides that alternative. As a hybrid-setup in combination with a small battery pack, the methanol fuel cell acts as a range extender delivering long range, fast refuelling with a liquid fuel as well as addressing the worldwide problems with air pollution. Using methanol as fuel provides the opportunity to reuse the already existing fuelling infrastructure, and when using green methanol produced from renewable sources, the fuel will be CO2 neutral from a well-to-wheel perspective.
Blue World Technologies is working closely together with R&D departments at OEMs within the automotive industry, and the first cars are expected to hit the roads for test during the first half of 2020. The AIWAYS U5 SUV is one of the platforms that Blue World Technologies – in close collaboration with AIWAYS – is working on integrating the methanol fuel cell technology for. Earlier this year, AIWAYS entered as a shareholder in Blue World Technologies as a strategic decision to accommodate the overall goal of the company of creating the next generation of sustainable vehicles.
Targeting the Chinese market
Due to China being the largest market for electric vehicles in the world, Blue World Technologies has from the very beginning had a strong focus on the Chinese market both regarding investors, production equipment and potential customers. To build the right relations in China, Blue World Technologies has benefited from the strong bridging between China and Denmark that the City of Aalborg – especially through the Chinese-Nordic Innovation Center – has established over the past years.