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Bosch forms strategic fuel cell partnership with Ceres Power

21 August 2018

Bosch announced a strategic partnership with Ceres Power, a UK-based developer of SteelCell® solid-oxide fuel-cell (SOFC) technology. The parties signed joint development agreements that provide staged revenues to Ceres through technology transfer and licensing and longer-term royalties on 5 kW SteelCell® stacks, as well as initial engineering services. The initial value to Ceres Power to 2020 will be circa £20 million (US$26 million), subject to performance criteria. Additionally, Bosch plans to make a £9 million (US$11.5 million) strategic equity investment in Ceres for an approximate 4.4% equity stake.

The Ceres SteelCell SOFC technology uses an electrochemical reaction to convert fuel such as natural gas or hydrogen into electricity. The technology is potentially applicable for a range of grid-based and distributed power applications, both residential and commercial. The SteelCell modules may also be viable for automotive applications, such as range extenders, and also as a power supply for charging points for electric vehicles.

Bosch and Ceres will work on making SOFC technology available for various residential and industrial applications. The aim is for one SOFC module to generate 10 kW of electrical power. Where more electricity is needed, a number of modules can be interconnected.

The companies expect that in the future, SOFC systems will be widely used in the world’s urban centers:

With urbanization on the increase, fuel-cell technology has a crucial role to play in securing power supplies: by 2050, it is expected that more than 6 billion people worldwide—70 percent of the global population—will live in cities. Even now, the world’s metropolises account for 75 percent of the energy consumed worldwide. By 2035, global energy consumption will have increased 30 percent. In the future, meeting this increased demand for electricity solely with large, centralized power stations will not be possible.

In addition, SOFC technology may play a role in renewable energy systems. Bosch envisions that fuel cells can help balance intermittent renewables and in the future convert “green” hydrogen into electricity with little environmental impact.

Source: Bosch & Ceres