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Nissan has finalised an agreement with the british company Ceres Power to develop a fuel cell technology that will be an alternative to hydrogen. The deal is claimed to take advantage of £772,000 in grant money from Innovate UK and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

The funding, part of a £38 million fund from OLEV and Innovate UK, is intended to develop ideas to cut vehicle emissions and make plug-in vehicles drive further.

Ceres Power is the leader of a consortium, with Nissan and micro-electronics specialist M-Solv, aimed at developing a compact, on-board solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack for range extension of electric vehicles. The SOFC stack is based on Ceres Power’s SteelCell technology, which is “fuel agnostic”, meaning vehicles with a SteelCell stack could generate electricity using petrol, diesel, natural gas or bioethanol as fuel.

“The technology will be much easier to roll out in comparison to hydrogen fuel cell due to the infrastructure already in place for fleets to fuel a Steel Cell vehicle with widely available fuels and then move to greener LPG or bio-ethanol as the technology takes off”, says Mark Selby, Ceres Power chief technology officer.

 “We are delighted to be working with Nissan and M-Solv to enable an all-electric vehicle with a longer range and shorter refuelling time and to help cut vehicle emissions globally, comments Phil Caldwell, Ceres Power’s Chief Executive Officer. In addition, this project broadens the applications for Ceres Power’s SteelCell into the automotive industry as well using alternative fuels such as biofuels.”