Bosch boosts stake in SOFC expert Ceres Power to around 18%; possible expansion into SO electrolysis
Bosch has increased its stake in solid-oxide fuel-cell (SOFC) developer Ceres Power from 3.9% to around 18%. The stake increase is achieved through a subscription by Bosch for new Ceres Power shares, as well as the purchase of further shares from existing shareholders.
Bosch’s total investment will be approximately €90 million (US$100 million). To enhance the strategic investment and the strength of the partnership, under the terms of the transaction, Bosch is granted the right to appoint a Non-Executive Director to the board of Ceres Power.
Bosch and Ceres Power are pressing ahead with the development of fuel-cell technology for potential new power systems. Picture: Bosch
Since signing a strategic agreement in August 2018, Bosch and Ceres have been successfully collaborating in the development of fuel-cell stacks for stationary applications. This enabled Bosch to start initial low-volume production of pilot fuel-cell systems in autumn 2019 in Germany.
Bosch intends for the increased stake to further support the collaboration towards future potential scale-up and mass manufacture of the Ceres SteelCell for multiple applications including small power stations to be used in cities, factories, data centers and charge points for electric vehicles.
Ceres notes that the funds will be used to fund further product uses for solid-oxide fuel-cells and to diversify its R&D activity to potential electrolysis applications for Ceres’ technology.
Solid oxide electrolysis (SOEC) is essentially the process of reversing fuel cells to produce hydrogen and e-fuels from renewable energy. Electrolysis with Ceres’ technology could use low-cost electricity and, unique to higher temperature electrolyzers, waste heat to convert water and carbon dioxide to high value chemicals such as hydrogen and other synthetic transport fuels, precursors for fertilizers and replacements for other petrochemical products.
High temperature electrolysis can potentially play a significant role in the decarbonization of the “hard-to-abate” sectors such as steel, other industrial heat consumers and even aviation. The Ceres Board believes that there is significant future value associated with this opportunity.
Early-stage testing on the application of Ceres’ technology as a solid oxide electrolyzer (SOEC) has delivered encouraging results, the company said.
The fuel-flexible SteelCell can generate power from conventional fuels such as natural gas and from sustainable fuels such as biogas, ethanol or hydrogen and it does so at very high efficiency.
Bosch strongly believes that the highly efficient solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) has an important role to play in energy systems’ security of supply and flexibility. Bosch, together with our development partner Ceres Power, has made good progress in the development of fuel-cell stacks for stationary power applications. With this enlarged investment in Ceres Power, we intend to further strengthen our successful collaboration with our development partner Ceres Power.—Dr. Christian Fischer, member of the Bosch management board
Ceres Power is a leading player in the development of next-generation SOFC technology. Its strategy is to commercialize its technology through licensing for mass production with partners, and to use this technology for grid-based and distributed power generation.
Bosch has confirmed to Ceres that it does not intend to make an offer for the company.