Horsham-based Ceres finds electrochemical solutions to solve energy retention problems. Four year old RFC, based at Imperial’s Incubator campus in west London, believes it has a strategy to develop the world’s lowest cost flow battery – a cross between a fuel cell and a battery capable of decoupling power from energy.
In storage, high capacity flow technologies such as vanadium redox and hydrogen cells are receiving ever greater attention, as engineers attempt to squeeze out storage lasting more than the two hours typical in installations now cashing in on Britain’s gold rush of investment in grid-scale ‘amp hotels’.
RFC’s response to the challenge is based on technology spun out of Imperial College in 2017. A patented chemistry based on hydrogen manganese promises, or so the firm believes, low cost, high round-trip efficiency and an extremely long cycle-life.
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Ceres, AIM-listed since 2018, has been talking to RFC in recent months. Following today’s co-development deal, Mark Selby, the former’s chief innovation officer, now join RFC’s board. He will leverage Ceres’ experience in licensing technology to speed the commercialisation of RFC’s know-how.
Selby represented Ceres at CoP26 this week for the official launch of the Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES) Council. Formed of 24 founding energy tech, end-user and investor organisations, LDES seeks way to facilitate about 10% of all energy being stored in greater than eight-hour storage technologies by 2040.
Given likely growth in global power, LDES anticipates such a share will require between 85 and 140TWh of deployed capacity, if the world’s grids are to operate at Net Zero. The trade body’s first report, due out on 23 November, will yield further detail.
Today’s deal rewards Ceres with an 8.4% shareholding in RFC, in exchange for the Hailsham firm’s chops in electrochemistry and device engineering.
If RFC’s technology proves compatible with Ceres’ strategy, Ceres has a 12 month option to acquire RFC’s outstanding share capital for up to £25 million. This comprises a 50% initial payment on exercise and a 50% deferred, performance-related payment. Both will be payable in Ceres shares.
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RFC Power boss Tim von Werne said: “Energy storage is a critical component of the transition to low carbon energy.
“This partnership with Ceres Power will accelerate RFC’s technology development, …enabling us to bring our technology for long duration storage to market at the pace required to meet global demand.
“We are delighted to welcome Mark Selby to our Board as we start this next phase of our commercial progress.”