Could well be, Ceres's website says: "We are working with Nissan to develop a compact, on-board SteelCell® stack, which will extend the range of electric vehicles and allow a shorter refuelling time. This could accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles, and so increase progress towards global low-carbon energy targets".
A positive RNS issued this morning. Of course it would be stronger if it had said who the partnership was with; but given it's in the same breath as Honda, Nissan & Cummins, I think we can assume it is a significant partner.
That was written in 2015. Times change. The hydrogen age is dawning. Have a look at the environmental impact of Li battery technology.
The first batch of mass-produced hydrogen-powered buses have been launched in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Co-developed by Wuhan Skywell New Energy Automotive Company and the Wuhan Tiger Fuel Cell Vehicle Company, the vehicles have a range of more than 450 kilometres, consuming only 5.2 kilograms of the gas every 100 kilometres.
The 8.5-meter bus can carry 56 passengers and refuels in less than five minutes.
The two companies behind its introduction signed a strategic cooperation agreement to manufacture and sell 3,000 of the hydrogen-powered vehicles, which have been named £Skywell Tigers£, over the next two years.
They say the buses will eventually be introduced in Shanghai, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chengdu, with both parties aiming to improve the development of clean transport and hydrogen fuel cell technology across the country.
I first got interested in fuel cells about 10 years ago; and spent more time researching the sector than I have ever done before or since. There were so many companies set up to develop fuel cells - mainly University research spin offs - all over the developed world. Most had some kind of backing from large energy companies (power generation, oil & gas, motor car manufacturers, air engine manufacturers, pc & mobile phone companies etc.) and were specialising in different potential applications - domestic, industrial, traction micro units etc. It seemed there was no way of picking the winners at that stage, and it did seem quite a long way off; so when there's a gold rush, don't back the miners, back the pick & shovel suppliers. Every fuel cell has a filter & a catalyst. Porvair seemed to have a monopoly of filters & Johnson Matthey on catalysts; so I invested in Porvair and have done very well (with no thanks to Fuel Cells at all.)
When so many companies were working on similar things there were bound to be casualties (like CFC) and the leaders begin to emerge more clearly.
We may still be some way off fuel cell companies being profitable, but from what I read the technology is a lot closer to being commercially exploitable now, and the remaining fuel cell companies are actually beginning to generate some real income.
It's going to be a very interesting sector over the next 2 years.
Regarding fuel cells for vehicles, this appears to be mentioned in the RNS from 15 Dec 2017.
"Ceres continues to meet the milestones provided for the Range Extender programme announced in June 2016 which has resulted in securing follow on agreements with Nissan".
Range extenders are used on battery EVs to recharge the batteries when exhausted.
They are usually small petrol driven engines driving a generator but in this case it would seem to be a Ceres fuel cell.
What confuses me about yesterday's RNS is the attitude to electric vehicles. paraphrasing it, it says - we have the technology to turn has into electricity to power a home - oh and it can recharge electric vehicles. If the technology exists to turn gas into electricity for the home surely it can do it for vehicles too. If vehicles have fuel cells to drive them, there is no need to recharge them at home; and it overcomes what I see as the biggest downside for electric vehicles - refuelling practicalities. When an electric vehicle (as we currently think of them) is getting low on charge it has to be plugged into to recharge or have its battery changed. These are time-consuming and impractical operations. If they have a fuel cell fitted, when getting low on juice they just fill up their fuel tanks as now. (And if they are hydrogen powered filling up reduces the weight.)
I need to get myself back up to speed on the players in fuel cells.
Sorry I have not replied until now. I did not take any notes, and the USA election has been somewhat of a distraction.
I asked some questions about their historical connection with Calor, as I saw this as a low hanging fruit that might get them a track record in the market, often the most diificult and necessary first hurdle to get liability protection to involve third party manufacturers.
Apparently Calor in the UK use a gas mix which is variable and difficult to tweak to any fuel cell sysytem, However, rural applications with bottled gas using pure butane or propane could well be such a low hanging fruit in other parts of Europe and the Far East.
Ceres now, Hhowever,, sees itself as more of a tier one providing the fuel cell stack components for variuos applications in cluding domestic heat and power, power supplies, backup and initial supplies for data/server centres, range extenders for automotive electrics/hybrids etc. Apparently Cummins is very interested, as they face a possible scenario where diesel could be banned in some of their current markets for stationary power generation. In domestic heat and power, they see their stacks as being viable for 10 years which is considered the life of most domestic boilers.
It seems that Europe and the far East (mostly Japan, but also Korea) are their current most promising markets, but USA interest in power plants for data servers is also warming up.
They appear to be selling a reasonable level of engineering services as evidence of partners preparing for significant licensing. They appear flexible to what type of licenses, ranging from large upfront payments/lower unit royalties, to the reverse, depending on the application and partner.,
I' ll write more if I find the time and remember more.
I have followed Ceres for many years, but have not yet bought shares, having invested in Ceramic Fuel Cells :-( and AFC :-) instead. When Ceres announced an investor's briefing, I applied to attend, and was surprised they replied positively.
I appeared to be the only private investor present, and asked about 80% of the questions, which were well received, and even continued talking with staff after the CEO ended the meeting.
Overall I was impressed, but agree that it could easily go private in the next year of so, but most likely at a decent premium to the present share price. I am very tempted to finally buy in if I can find the cash, or may sell off other shares to do so.
I think the trigger point for an offer is 30%... but you may be right that we are heading towards a bid. I hope not. Seems very unsatisfactory that when things go badly PIs are left to bear the losses, but when the prospects are good the company is taken private with at best modest profits for PIs.
I've been adding recently on a couple of occasions. I'm feeling quite pleased about its various collaborations around the world, and the calibre of the players Ceres are working with. One aspect that pleases me is that their fuel cell is fuel agnostic.
Dec 2014 to Dec 2015, cash dropped by £10 million. So they will need another placing in six months or so. Glad I sold at just under 6p.some time ago. Wait till after the placing and then buy in, that's my advice.
"We are all doomed." The idea of fuel cells generating heat and power is wonderful, but with the glut of gas from fracking, and the sinking oil price, why bother them? Don't think that the Paris climate change resolutions will make much of a difference to the power generation market for several years, by which time we will have run out of money.
I've always been an optimist for fuel cells. However if gas pieces follow oil prices and the IEA is right in its forecast, what made sense at $100 a barrel probably doesn't make sense at $50 a barrel. Although the cost of money is low the additional capital cost has to be less than the cost of the fuel saved over the life of the device. So I'm thinking its time to sell. Opinions?
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