Case study

Ceres Power: fuel cell business makes manufacturing breakthrough

A business with an innovative fuel cell has built a production line that makes its large-scale manufacture possible for the first time.

James Falla
James Falla, chief operating officer of Ceres Power.

High-speed line powers business

High-speed line powers business

A business that has developed an innovative fuel cell has made a significant breakthrough in building a high-speed production line to scale up manufacturing, with the help of Innovate UK.

The Ceres Power Steel Cell features several layers of ceramic on a steel base. It can convert natural gas into a power supply.

The high cost of fuel cells has so far been seen as a barrier to commercialisation.

However, the high-speed print line, developed with screen printing business ASM Alternative Energy (ASM AE) in a project supported by Innovate UK, is breaking new ground.

James Falla, Ceres chief operating officer, said:

Fuel cells have been seen as not commercially viable. What our work with ASM AE and Innovate UK has done is enable us to prove that this technology can be mass manufactured. We can produce at high volume and low cost.

Our technology cuts costs and emissions and improves efficiency and reliability. Our vision is for a fuel cell in every home and business.

The Ceres Power Steel Cell.
The Ceres Power Steel Cell.

Fuel cell can now be made 10 times quicker

The new production line is helping the company to manufacture its fuel cell 10 times quicker than before.

The arrival of cheaper fuel cell technology means power can be generated more efficiently by a business or a home at the local point of use, rather than centrally.

This means more affordable power for customers, lower emissions and better reliability.

Ceres Power has recently signed a joint development agreement with Honda to develop fuel cell stacks for a range of power equipment. It is also working with South Korean boiler manufacturer KD Navien and a number of other unnamed partners.

James added:

We are at an important stage of commercialisation with our customers such as Honda and KD Navien. The commercial potential is enormous. We are now able to license our technology to partners around the world, who can embed our fuel cells into multiple power systems.

There are no limits to this technology because it can be used in so many mass-market applications.

Ceres Power, based in Horsham, West Sussex, started as a small spin-out from Imperial College 15 years ago and now employs around 100 people. It has won support from Innovate UK for a number of projects to develop its technology over the last 10 years.

Published 23 February 2016