Nissan Teams With Ceres For Future Fuel-Cell Tech For EVs

AUG 12 2018 BY MARK KANE 12

Nissan doesn’t limit its research to battery-electric cars. In fact, it actively explores fuel cell tech too.

The Japanese company recently entered a partnership with Ceres Power, the UK-based developer of the SteelCell – a low-cost Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology for operation with a variety of high-efficiency fuel types (including biofuels), which could be used as range-extender in plug-in vehicles.

Why is our SteelCell® Unique?
It’s the unique chemistry of our people and our technology that differentiates the SteelCell®. With sixteen years of intelligent investment in research and development, it is no coincidence that Ceres Power’s platform is attracting the attention of the biggest and brightest minds in the energy sector.

With the potential to be the most cost-effective and robust fuel cell technology, the SteelCell® offers exceptional efficiency and unrivalled reliability. As a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC), the SteelCell® can use conventional fuels like mains natural gas from the existing infrastructure and can make an immediate improvement to energy costs, CO2 emissions and energy security for businesses, homes and vehicles.”

Nissan already offers gasoline-electric series hybrids e-POWER in Japan (non-rechargeable) and having a fuel-cell version would be just another powertrain option.

Under the new project, Ceres Power will receive £7 million ($9.1 million) for the developments. Only time will tell whether it will result in a new REx for BEVs or new series-hybrids.

“Ceres Power and The Welding Institute (“TWI”) have been awarded a total of £8m UK government funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (“APC”) for this project.


•     Nissan, Ceres Power and TWI to enter into a new partnership to further develop fuel cell technology for EV application

•     Ceres Power will receive £7 million funding and TWI will receive £1 million funding from APC as part of an overall £19 million programme over c. 3 years

•     New partnership builds on the successful Joint Development with Nissan over the past 2 years and sees Ceres Power accelerating commercialisation of its SteelCell® fuel cell technology in automotive markets

•     This comes soon after Ceres Power’s recent announcement of a strategic partnership with China’s Weichai Power to develop its technology for China’s fast-growing electric powered bus market

e-Power Infographic

After a successful two-year Innovate UK funded development programme (EVRE – Electric Vehicle Range Extender), this project is the natural next step towards increased technology and manufacturing readiness for mass production of Ceres Power’s SteelCell® for automotive applications.

This project will involve the design, build, test and demonstration of a compact, robust, UK-produced SOFC stack, deployed within a Nissan designed fuel cell module suitable for operation with a variety of high efficiency fuel types (including biofuels).

The UK Government’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy, which requires a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, is accelerating the shift to battery Electric Vehicles. Introducing fuel cell technology alongside batteries further enables increased drive range and has a significant role to play in the acceleration of the uptake of battery EVs.

This latest announcement demonstrates Ceres Power’s ability to bring its technology toward commercialisation through existing partnerships. The SteelCell® continues to attract world-class OEMs that are looking to develop an alternative to combustion engine technologies. Ceres Power has six strategic partners, including Cummins, Honda & Nissan, two as yet unnamed partners and a recently confirmed strategic investment partner in Weichai Power, which is primarily for range extension technology in China’s fast-growing battery-electric bus market.”

Phil Caldwell, CEO of Ceres Power, said:

“This latest announcement is testament to the strength of our relationship with Nissan, with whom we have already made significant strides in range extension technology over the past two years. We are grateful for the support from the APC and UK Government. The SteelCell® is now setting the standard for solid oxide fuel cell technology around the world.  This year we have delivered on our commercial objectives and we continue to target an additional broad strategic collaboration in 2018.”

Here is the Nissan e-POWER compared to all-electric and hybrid car:


Source: Ceres Power via Green Car Congress

Categories: Nissan


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12 Comments on "Nissan Teams With Ceres For Future Fuel-Cell Tech For EVs"

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PSSST- Hey Nissan, I have a little inside advice for battery cell tech: thermal management.. Learn to crawl before you attempt to run.

Second tip, put a plug on those hybrids…

With all this talk about range extenders, I guess that might actually be what Nissan is planning here?…

Yes, you and the other 10,000 people posting this in every Nissan article. We get it.

Psst, Johnny. 2019 Model.

Might be worth linking to the fully charged video they did last year

Is Nissan planning to use both Electric and Fuecel. If so they can sell a vehicle which will run the 1st 50 miles / 80 km on batteries and then followed by fuecel for another 300 miles. After all motor is common and only the source is different.

Nissan Note ePower (Hybrid but driven mostly by motor) is 1 of the best selling vehicles in Japan. I wish they sell it here and also its technology is applied in upcoming Altima.

Where can you refill after you drive those 300 miles? Unless you are driving among the small handful of cities with hydrogen stations, there’s nowhere to drive.

Even in California, only two of the top five biggest cities in the state has any hydrogen stations (Los Angeles, and San Jose which has only one station).

The Bay Area has a dozen stations. SF, San Diego, and Sacramento do too.

But neither San Francisco nor Oakland have any stations. San Jose has one. If you lived in San Francisco you’d have to do a 30 mile round trip to fill up. Hardly seems practical.

Just check the station map:

(Note: the yellow flag ‘planned stations’ are not existing stations. The stations cost so much to build that most planned stations are never built. There was a ‘planned’ station near my house. Ten years later, still no station).

Nissan’s in house FCEV ran on ethanol, and solid oxide fuel cells are much more flexible when it comes to fuel sources than the PEM ones that need pure hydrogen. We could have them run on gasoline or diesel if we really wanted to.

Did you actually read the article? There is not a single mention of hydrogen — this is about generating electricity from traditional fuels. Just a cleaner, quieter, and presumably somewhat more efficient alternative to the combustion engine generators in series hybrids / range extenders.

Unlike hydrogen fuel cells, this might actually be useful for complementing BEVs in niche uses, where battery-only is not ideal.