Bosch and Ceres Power ramp up fuel-cell production

Bosch has announced plans to begin the full-scale production of distributed power stations based on fuel cell technology developed by UK firm Ceres Power.

Solid oxide fuel-cell
Stationary solid oxide fuel cell systems (SOFC) pilot systems. Image: Bosch

Under the plans – the German technology giant will scale up the production of Ceres’ solid oxide fuel-cell technology (SOFC), which boasts an overall energy efficiency of 85 per cent and which is claimed to be superior to any other energy converter.

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The technology is viewed as ideal for application in small, distributed, connectivity-enabled power stations, for use in cities, factories, trade and commerce, data centres, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.  Bosch estimates that the market for decentralised power generation will reach a volume of 20 billion euros by 2030.

The two companies have been collaborating on fuel cell developments since 2018, with Bosch acquiring an 18 per cent stake in the Horsham based firm earlier this year (Jan 2020).

Bosch holds an extensive technology license from Ceres Power and has been manufacturing fuel cells and stacks in-house since 2019. Pilot plants based on solid oxide fuel cells are already being successfully tested at various Bosch locations. The SOFC systems can already be operated with eco-friendly biogas or natural gas – and are already hydrogen-compatible.

The latest announcement marks a strengthening of this alliance, with Bosch planning to invest hundreds of millions of euros in the technology in order to take it into production.

solid oxide fuel cells
Stationary solid oxide fuel cell systems explained. Image: Bosch

Bosch is aiming for an annual production capacity of some 200 megawatts, enough to supply around 400,000 households with electricity, and is planning to produce the stationary solid oxide fuel-cell systems at its manufacturing sites in Bamberg, Wernau, and Homburg, as well as at its development sites in Stuttgart -Feuerbach and Renningen.

“We see the highly efficient solid oxide fuel cell as an essential element of a sustainable energy supply,” said Dr Christian Fischer, the Bosch board of management member responsible for the Energy and Building Technology business sector.

Ceres Power CEO Phil Caldwell added, “We are proud to have reached this milestone in collaboration with our important partner Bosch. Combining innovative Ceres technology with Bosch’s manufacturing expertise made it possible to create pioneering stationary fuel-cell systems that will help overcome the global challenges of the energy transition. ”