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