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Ceres Power, Cummins win US DOE award for solid oxide fuel cell power in data centres

UK-based Ceres Power has a key development role in a recently selected US Department of Energy programme award to Cummins Inc, to develop a novel, modular 5 kW solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system that is scalable up to 100 kW, initially targeted at data centres.

The collaboration between Cummins and Ceres Power is focused on delivering significant cost savings and environmental improvements.

The consortium will develop a 5 kW SOFC system with high electrical efficiency (60%), and scalable to meet multiple distributed power applications up to 100 kW. The initial target application will be the data centre market, although wider applicability to other markets such as commercial combined heat and power (CHP) will also be considered.

Ceres Power’s unique Steel Cell offers greatly enhanced robustness to real-world operating conditions at a lower cost than conventional SOFC designs, as well as being fuel-flexible, highly efficient, and with lower emissions.

If successfully implemented into data centres, the Steel Cell will enable data centre operators to cut current overall costs by more than 20% and reduce their carbon footprint by up to 49%. A recent DOE/Berkeley Lab report found that data centres consume nearly 2% of the total US electricity output.

Ceres Power will benefit from up to $2.6 million of the total $4.9 million project, which includes contributions from Cummins, DOE, and other parties. Ceres Power and Cummins will work closely with their consortium partners, the University of Connecticut and DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, to test the system to validate its feasibility in the target applications.

‘This is a very exciting opportunity for Ceres Power to work with Cummins and the US DOE to address the rapidly growing market for cleaner distributed power for data centres and other commercial applications,’ says Phil Caldwell, CEO of Ceres Power, ‘and strengthens our relationships in North America, a key market for our Steel Cell technology.’

‘We are looking forward to working with Ceres Power, UConn, and PNNL to develop and ultimately commercialise this technology that can reduce costs for data centres and other potential customers while helping improve our environment,’ adds Wayne Eckerle, Cummins VP for corporate research and technology.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Green building