Energy, Oil & Gas Issue 168 May 2019

Page 40

Thinking clean “We are currently in a position where we can either spend the next 20 years playing around in R&D and retire, having achieved what, in our view, would be very little, or we can push really hard for the promotion of clean technology to drive a very tangible positive change across an entire society.” In one sentence, Dr Ben Todd – the visionary founder and CEO of Arcola Energy, outlines the ambitious, almost larger-than-life, task ahead of the systems engineering company and Tier 1 supplier, which specialises in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Formally founded in 2010, Arcola Energy has been running fuel cells since the installation of its first system in 2007; and has always focused on bridging the gap between the companies developing clean energy technologies and the end users wanting to put them into use. “I have been part of the

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fuel cell industry for about 20 years, first as a technology scholar looking at extracting hydrogen from diesel, and later in my PhD in Cambridge, working on the Rolls-Royce solid oxide fuel cell system, which is designed to be combined with a gas turbine,” Ben says. “After my PhD, working in consultancy, I saw for myself how difficult it was for a company to get its clean-tech product into the market. Technology companies would rely on generalist consulting firms to deploy their products, but often the products did not fit the application requirements and the consultancies did not have the relevant expertise to get the best from the technology. So, I decided I would set up my own business with the simple idea of being genuinely useful – neither seeking the glory of technology invention, nor aspiring to be high paid consultants, just relentlessly doing whatever it takes to get hydrogen and fuel cells into the market.”