Ian Constance CEO of APC hydrogen fuel cell funding

UK-based non-profit the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has awarded £35,000,000 in funding to three British low-carbon transport projects, including a hydrogen fuel cell development programme involving Nissan and Ceres Power.

A recent partnership between the Japanese car manufacturer and the Sussex-based fuel cell engineering company is anticipated to result in a solid oxide fuel cell for use as a range extender in automotive applications. Such a car would have both a battery and a hydrogen tank, the latter supplying power in situations where the former had run flat.

Phil Caldwell, CEO at Ceres Power said: “This APC-funded project will develop an automotive-specification fuel cell range extender. It is the next step towards increasing the technology and manufacturing readiness of a compact, robust, fast-response SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) stack for high volume production.

“APC funding enables Ceres and its partners, who are responsible for the automotive application, to jointly engineer a SOFC solution that contributes to a low carbon future.”

A solid oxide fuel cell uses a solid oxide electrolyte and normally needs to operate at very high temperatures to be effective. However, they rely less heavily on expensive materials in their construction, and as such could prove useful in the medium-term development of fuel cell vehicles.

Nissan has yet to produce a production-ready fuel cell vehicle. Honda and Toyota, the two other main Japanese car makers, have both built and sold hydrogen fuel cell cars around the world.

“The challenge of lowering emissions is shared by the entire automotive industry, and includes all areas of the sector,” said APC chief executive Ian Constance, pictured above. “This latest round of APC funding highlights the broad range of vehicle types that will benefit from developments in low carbon innovation, with successful applicants developing technologies for commercial and off-highway vehicles, as well as the wider e-mobility industry.

“We expect that this approach will help to create and safeguard jobs across the UK automotive sector.”

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