Weichai Power buys into nascent global solid fuel cell market

By Yuan Shenggao| (China Daily)| Updated : 2018-06-09

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Weichai Power, the subsidiary of Weichai Group, has signed a strategic agreement with the United Kingdom's solid oxide fuel cell supplier Ceres Power - to strengthen its position in the new energy power supply industry.

The move means Weichai Power is breaking into the cutting-edge solid oxide fuel cell, or SOFC market, and is a major step in the company's efforts to adopt new power sources.

Weichai agreed on May 16 to buy a 20 percent stake in Ceres Power for 40 million ($53.26 million). It will also establish a joint venture with Ceres Power before 2020 in Weifang.

Initial plans are for the parties to work together to develop a 30 kilowatt SteelCell SOFC fuel cell range extender system for the Chinese market in early 2019, utilizing compressed natural gas technology.

The joint venture will be the only authorized company in China to use the SteelCell technology, which is a low-cost SOFC technology developed by Ceres Power.

According to Ceres Power, its unique patented SteelCell technology generates power from widely available fuels at high efficiency and is 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.

Weichai Group, a leading heavy truck and components developer and manufacturer in China, is set to build a new energy industrial park, supporting Shandong province's efforts to replace old economic development drivers with new ones.

The industrial park will have a complete new energy vehicle production industrial chain, including complete vehicles, powertrain systems, batteries and engines. The investment for the industrial park will total 50 billion yuan ($7.81 billion), according to the company.

"Weichai, one of the leading companies in China's equipment manufacturing industry, has responsibilities and confidence to bring important resources, leading experts and the state-of-the-art technologies to China to support Shandong's economic upgrade plans and China's environment protection efforts," said Weichai Power Chairman Tan Xuguang.

Tan said the partnership with Ceres Power was a key step in advancing Weichai's development plan and supporting the construction of its industrial park.

"We look forward to progressing our partnership with Ceres Power to bring more solutions to China's new energy industry," Tan said.

Phil Caldwell, CEO of Ceres Power, said that the partnership marked a milestone in Ceres Power's development by providing it access to the Chinese market, the world's fastest-growing market for fuel cells.

"We are delighted to be working with Weichai in a partnership that provides access to the Chinese market for our SteelCell technology and also scale-up capital for our growth in the UK," Caldwell said.

Caldwell said Weichai has a successful track record of partnerships with international companies, which made his company confident about future cooperation.


(China Daily 06/09/2018 page10)