Ceres Power to demonstrate SOFC stack technology for EV range extender with Nissan; light commercial vehicle
UK-based Ceres Power Holdings, a spin-out from Imperial College, is leading a consortium that includes Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd and M-Solv to develop a compact, on-board solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack as a range extender for an electric light commercial vehicle (van). (Earlier post.)
£772,000 (US$1 million) in funding for the work comes from Innovate UK and The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV); of that, £573,000 (US$755,000) is allocated to Ceres. The SOFC stack is based on Ceres Power’s unique SteelCell technology, which is able to work with a variety of high efficiency fuel types (including biofuels) applicable to the automotive sector.
We are delighted to be working with Nissan and M-Solv to enable an all-electric vehicle with a longer range and shorter refueling time and to help cut vehicle emissions globally. In addition, this project broadens the applications for Ceres Power’s SteelCell into the automotive industry as well using alternative fuels such as biofuels.— Phil Caldwell, Ceres Power’s CEO
Ceres Power cell technology is based on a patented steel cell using cerium gadolinium oxide (CGO) as the electrolyte, thus permitting operating temperatures of 500-620 °C compared to ≥700 ˚C for conventional SOFCs using yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolyte. Further, the use of a metal support allows much greater mechanical robustness than is typically the case with a planar ceramic SOFC, while maintaining the high volumetric power density typical of planar SOFCs.
Ceres makes its Steel Cells by screen printing layers of ceramic ink onto a drilled sheet of steel. Achieving these high quality ceramic layers at low temperature on steel is protected through extensive registered intellectual property and know-how. (Consortium partner M-Solv is a laser micromachining and micro deposition process company.)
The combination of low operating temperature—with the related ability to use lower cost materials— metal support and careful optimization of the microstructure of the ceramic layers allows low cell, stack and balance of plant cost and high robustness to real-world operating conditions.
In January, Ceres Power signed a new Joint Development Agreement with Honda R & D Co Ltd jointly to develop Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) stacks using Ceres Power’s metal-supported Steel Cell technology for a range of potential power equipment applications. (Earlier post.)
Nissan recently announced it is researching and developing a Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered system using bio-ethanol as the on-board hydrogen source. (Earlier post.)