Cummins Teams Up with Ceres Power to Develop Fuel Cell Technology for Data Centers

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Cummins and Ceres Power Holdings PLC, a U.K.-based company, will collaborate on a nearly $5 million project to develop fuel cell power for data centers after receiving an award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The project partnership also includes the University of Connecticut and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, one of the DOE’s national laboratories. It will be funded by contributions from Cummins, the DOE and other parties.

The partnership will develop a novel 5kW Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (“SOFC”) modular system targeting high electrical efficiency (60 percent) and scalable to meet multiple distributed power applications up to 100kW.

The initial target application will be the data center market; however, applicability to other markets such as commercial combined heat and power 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 centers, the Steel Cell could enable data center operators to cut current overall costs by more than 20 percent and reduce their carbon footprint by up to 49 percent. It has the potential to reduce world energy use significantly as data centers currently consume nearly two percent of the world’s electrical power.

Ceres Power brings its technical expertise in fuel cells to the partnership while Cummins is a world leader in the design and manufacture of power generation equipment and power generation systems.

“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 centers and other commercial applications and strengthens our relationships in North America, a key market for our Steel Cell technology,” said Phil Caldwell, CEO, Ceres Power.

“We are looking forward to working with Ceres Power, UConn, and PNNL to develop and ultimately commercialize this technology that can reduce costs for data and other potential customers while helping improve our environment,” said Wayne Eckerle, Cummins VP – Corporate Research and Technology.

“This is another example of technological collaboration that is a win for our companies, a win for our customers and a win for the environment,” Eckerle added.

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