The new site will act as a “lead plant” to provide volume production and further develop processes to enable high volume manufacture with international partners under license.
The plant facility will initially supply the equivalent of 2 MW of fuel cells per year with the capacity to expand to 10 MW a year, with the nearby Horsham facility remaining as the headquarters and Technical Centre. The need for more capacity has been driven by the increasing demand from six major OEMs, including Nissan, Honda, Cummins, Weichai Power and Bosch.
As the name suggests, the SteelCell manufactured using standard processing equipment and conventional materials such as steel, meaning that it can be mass produced at an affordable price for domestic and business use. Ceres Power licenses the technology to partners to develop power systems and products as well as suppling the SteelCell in volume through manufacturing partners. The plant will be funded from cash, as the company raised £10m from two investors earlier this year.
Ceres is currently working on several applications with OEM partners including a range extender for electric buses with Weichai Power, small power stations with Bosch, EV range extenders with Nissan and data centre power with Cummins, and these development projects alone require a major increase in manufacturing capacity says the company. It will also provide capacity for the early stages of commercial product launch, whilst also serving as a proof of concept facility to demonstrate how rapid scale up and low-cost manufacturing is deliverable. This can then be duplicated on a larger scale by future manufacturing partners growing from 10 MW to 100 MW per year capacity.
Next: Moving from R&D to production
“I’m delighted to be investing in the UK to increase our manufacturing capability and create new jobs in what should be a key strategic sector for the UK. The UK is establishing itself as a world leader in fuel cells with technologies such as the SteelCell growing in international reputation as evidenced by our partnerships with Bosch, Weichai Power and Nissan,” said Phil Caldwell, CEO of Ceres Power.
“This facility in Redhill achieves another commercial scale-up milestone in separating R&D product development from commercial production. The new manufacturing site will also show that we can scale up to significant volumes efficiently in an appropriate capital investment profile to match increasing customer demand,” said James Falla, COO. “We look forward to working alongside our partners to meet demand and refine the manufacturing processes here in the UK and scaling this capability through our licensing partners worldwide.”