Energy Lancaster to help research new generation of fuel cells

Engineers from Lancaster University are working in collaboration with a cutting edge clean-tech company that has developed a new generation of fuel cells that could revolutionise energy supply to homes and businesses.

Ceres fuel cell productionExperts from Energy Lancaster - a research centre looking at solutions to meet the world’s future energy needs - are working in partnership with Ceres Power, a world-leading developer of low cost, next generation fuel cell technology used in combined heat and power (micro-CHP) systems.

Ceres Power’s fuel cell technology has the potential to transform gas to electricity and heat at the point of use for homes and businesses.

By generating power at the point of use, decentralised electricity generation through fuel cell micro-CHP has great efficiency advantages since energy losses in power transmission from large central power stations to homes are avoided - therefore saving consumers’ money, reducing CO2 emissions and improving energy security.

Following funding of £230,000 from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), Energy Lancaster scientists and engineers will help improve Ceres Power’s understanding of the materials used to manufacture its steel cells. As Ceres commercialises its technology for a variety of market applications this enhanced understanding will help to inform next-generation designs.

Richard Dawson, lecturer in engineering at Lancaster University, said: “We will be working with Ceres Power over the next three years to help them to gain new insight into their innovative fuel cell design.

“This technology has significant potential to change the way power is distributed, bringing greater efficiency to fuel use, which has obvious environmental benefits, but also helping to reduce bills for homes and businesses.”

The funding will also help to pay for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership research associate from Lancaster University to be based with Ceres Power working on the technology. Mark Selby, technology director at Ceres Power, said: “Working with Lancaster’s experts will help us develop greater insight into the materials and processes we use to manufacture our Steel Cells. The TSB programme is also a great way to develop the engineering talent of the future, which is important for advancing industries like fuel cells.”