Government-Run VC Firm Invests In Powercell Sweden

Oct 27 2009 | 10:28am ET

The Swedish government’s venture capital company for the automotive industry, Fouriertransform, has invested SEK 60 million (US$8.6 million) in Powercell Sweden, which develops, produces and sells fuel cells, fuel reformers and auxiliary power units.

“We regard it as very positive that Powercell will gain an additional strong financial owner. This will enable us to be a long-term partner in heavy industrial development projects,” said Per Wassén, chairman of Powercell Sweden and investment director at Volvo Technology Transfer.

Fouriertransform’s investment will be made by a directed share issue. Through Volvo Technology Transfer, AB Volvo will remain as the largest owner of Powercell Sweden, with more than 40% of the shares. The other owners are OCAS, Midroc New Technology and Fouriertransform.

In July, Midroc and OCAS, along with the Swedish Energy Agency and Volvo Technology Transfer, made a joint investment of SEK 200 million (US$28.7 million) in Powercell, which is expected create 100 new jobs in Göteborg, Sweden over the next three years.

A fuel cell can be compared with a small battery that operates on hydrogen gas. During a chemical reaction, the hydrogen gas is converted to electricity with no other waste but water. To resolve the issue of hydrogen gas accessibility, Powercell will initially produce hydrogen gas from such existing fuels as biofuel and gasoline or diesel. Compared with normal diesel or gasoline-operated electrical aggregates, Powercell’s product will generate considerably less carbon dioxide emissions, and no emissions whatsoever of particles, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. The fuel cells are also more efficient, smaller and more silent.

Powercell Sweden’s product has been developed by Volvo Technology for more than 15 years and is based on two patented components: a fuel converter (reformer) and a PEM fuel cell – the type of fuel cell most often used in transport applications. The fuel converter produces hydrogen gas from bio fuels such as ethanol, DME (Dimethyl ether), biogas, methanol and biodiesel, but also from regular diesel or gasoline.  Examples of application areas include electrical aggregates for households, trucks, boats, radio masts at remote locations and electrical hybrid vehicles.


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