The strategic deal for 4.4 percent of Ceres values the company at £225m and will see a licensing agreement for the further development of technology and establishment of small-volume production operations at Bosch. €
The SteelCell technology developed by Ceres uses an electrochemical reaction in the fuel cell stack to convert fuel such as natural gas or hydrogen into electricity. The deal will see technology transfer and longer-term royalties on 5kW SteelCell stacks, as well as initial engineering services in a deal worth £20m over the next two years.
“Bosch believes that the highly efficient fuel cell, with its very low emissions, has an important role to play in energy systems’ security of supply and flexibility,” said Stefan Hartung, the member of the Bosch management board responsible for the Energy and Building Technology business sector. “Fuel-cell technology will bring the move to alternative energy a step closer, and we will be working on this with our development partner Ceres Power.”
The technology can be used from data centres to charging pownts for electric vehicles. The vision is to have small power stations set up throughout cities, as well as in industrial areas. Because these standardized plants are highly flexible, they will be able to cover peak demand better, as well as faster, than conventional plants. The aim is for one SOFC module to generate 10 kW of electrical power. Where more electricity is needed, any number of modules with the same output can simply be interconnected.
“The vision for our partnership with Bosch is to set a new industry standard for solid-oxide fuel cells, leading to widespread adoption in distributed powersupplies. By combining Ceres’ unique Steel Cell technology with Bosch’s engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain strength we will establish a strong partnership that can make our technology even more competitive and prepare it for potential mass production,” says Phil Caldwell, the CEO of Ceres Power.
Ceres, which spun out of Imperial College, London, 15 years ago, is also working with a number of other global companies including Weichai Power, Nissan, Honda and Cummins to embed SteelCell into power systems for industrial, data centre, electric vehicle and residential markets.