Ceres Power, a UK-based spin-out from Imperial College and the developer of the SteelCell low-cost Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology (earlier post), has entered into a new partnership with Nissan further to develop fuel cell technology for EV applications.
Ceres Power and The Welding Institute (TWI) have been awarded a total of £8 million (US$10.4 million) from the UK government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) for this project.
The fuel-flexible SteelCell can generate power from conventional fuels such as natural gas and from sustainable fuels such as biogas, ethanol or hydrogen at very high efficiency. Made from mass-market and widely available materials, the SteelCell is cost-effective, robust and scalable, Ceres claims.
This project will involve the design, build, test and demonstration of a compact, robust, UK-produced SOFC stack, deployed within a Nissan-designed fuel cell module suitable for operation with a variety of high efficiency fuel types (including biofuels).
After a successful two-year Innovate UK funded development programme (EVRE – Electric Vehicle Range Extender), this project is the natural next step towards increased technology and manufacturing readiness for mass production of Ceres Power’s SteelCell for automotive applications.
Ceres Power will receive £7 million funding and TWI will receive £1 million funding from APC as part of an overall £19-million program over about 3 years. The new partnership builds on the successful Joint Development with Nissan over the past 2 years and sees Ceres Power accelerating commercialization of its SteelCell fuel cell technology in automotive markets.
The expanded work with Nissan comes soon after Ceres Power’s recent announcement of a strategic partnership with China’s Weichai Power to develop its technology for China’s fast-growing electric powered bus market.
The UK Government’s Road to Zero strategy, which requires a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, is accelerating the shift to battery Electric Vehicles. Introducing fuel cell technology alongside batteries further enables increased drive range and has a significant role to play in the acceleration of the uptake of battery EVs.
Ceres Power has six strategic partners, including Cummins, Honda & Nissan, two as yet unnamed partners and a recently confirmed strategic investment partner in Weichai Power, which is primarily for range extension technology in China’s fast-growing battery-electric bus market.