Market Overview

Bosch Forms Strategic Collaboration with Fuel-Cell Expert Ceres Power


Flexible power supply for cities and industry

  • Agreements signed: Bosch to enter into partnership for technology
    development and manufacturing, and to acquire 4 percent equity stake
    in Ceres Power Holdings plc.
  • Stefan Hartung, Bosch: "Highly efficient fuel cells will bring the
    move to alternative energy a step closer."
  • Phil Caldwell, Ceres Power: "This partnership with Bosch has the
    potential to drive the widespread adoption of SOFC for distributed
    power generation products using the Ceres Steel Cell technology."

Bosch is pressing ahead with the development of fuel-cell technology for
potential new power systems. Together with the technology specialist
Ceres Power, based in Horsham, U.K., the company wants to develop the
next stage of solid-oxide fuel-cell (SOFC) technology. Bosch also plans
to take a 4 percent equity stake in Ceres Power. The two companies
signed a collaboration and license agreement for the further development
of technology, and establishment of small-volume production operations
at Bosch, as well as a share purchase agreement, on August 20, 2018.

Ceres Power is a leading player in the development of next-generation
SOFC technology. Its strategy is to commercialize its technology through
mass production with partners, and to use this technology for grid-based
and distributed power generation. The intention is that SOFC systems
will be used in cities, factories, and data centers, and also as a power
supply for charging points for electric vehicles.

Greater security of supply, more flexibility

"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," says Stefan Hartung, the Bosch management board
member whose responsibilities include 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."

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.

"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 power supplies. 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.

Small power stations for urban power supplies

SOFC technology uses an electrochemical reaction in the fuel cell stack
to convert fuel such as natural gas or hydrogen into electricity. The
environmental benefit is considerable, with much lower emissions than
from power stations that use a combustion process.

Together with Ceres Power, Bosch will work on making SOFC technology
available for various applications: 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.

Using fuel cells, considerable power can be generated locally and highly
efficiently and practically without emissions. In this way, discrete
areas can be created that are largely independent of centralized power
supplies. In addition, SOFC systems are an ideal partner for renewable
forms of energy. For example, they can help balance intermittent
renewables and in the future convert "green" hydrogen into electricity
with little environmental impact.

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