the scientist behind a revolutionary fuel cell - stainless steel natural gas grill
Julia pilkhead may find the headquarters of a company there that will change the way we power and heat our homes.
This company called Ceres Power has designed a very clever technology that can cut our heating costs and even provide electricity for free, all at the cost of standard hot waterwater boiler.
To be fair, an industrial unit behind the civic parking lot of Crawley concrete new town in West Sussex is about the last place you go.
Especially when the company is valued at £ 0. 128 billion and is described as "the world-
Led by Prime Minister Blair.
However, in the corner next to 15 identical units, Ceres Power-AIM-listed start-
Imperial College London-
According to City analysts, it may soon be home to a billion people. pound business.
I see here the person behind this seemingly inconspicuous company-Nigel Brandon, chief scientist at Ceres and professor at Imperial College.
The reason he became famous is because he designed a technology called thermoelectric hybrid fuel --
Battery stacks-like a small power station that can generate electricity and generate electricity (see diagram).
The device consists of many fuel cells layered with each other, combining fuel and air to generate electricity and heat through a quiet and clean, electro-chemical process similar to the battery.
Brandon's company plans to include the technology in a new generation of boilers that should be a little more expensive than conventional systems due to low production costs.
Compared to many old boilers, it uses less gas to produce the same amount of heat and generates electricity as a by-product
Effective free product.
Like all solids.
Oxide fuel cells, each consisting of an anode and a cathode, are separated by a layer of ceramic electrolyte that does not penetrate.
The ceramic layer conducts negatively charged oxygen ions from the cathode to the anode, in which they bind to hydrogen and generate electrons to generate current.
The reaction also produces heat and water.
However, unlike similar fuel cells, Ceres's batteries are made of stainless steel and ceramics, not precious metals, so they are both cheap and sturdy to produce.
Batteries can operate on existing fuels such as natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas, as well as biofuels and hydrogen.
"It's cheaper to use natural gas at the moment, which is purely a cost issue.
It will reduce your carbon emissions and save you money, "Brandon said.
The pile can also replace diesel generators and be used to power refrigeration equipment in commercial vehicles.
Is there a fuel cell for every family one day?
"We would like to think this way," he said . "
"Every family may be too strong, but most of them can.
"Ceres is also in an enviable position without direct competitors.
"We have a very powerful patent.
"In fact, we have their portfolio," he added quickly . ".
Since the general outside of the company's department masks the nature of the internal business, Brandon's calm and measured attitude masks the internal motivation shown by his progress in the top-level field.
Brandon, from Sutton Colfield, studied mineral engineering at Imperial College of Technology, followed by a PhD in electro-chemical engineering.
His interest in renewable energy was later on at a time of 8-
Worked at BP's Sunbury Research Center for a year, where he dabbled in fuel
Cell Technology-BP had little interest in this field at the time.
At 1992, he joined Rolls-
The Royce strategic research center in Derby realized that fuel cells are his future direction.
He formed a team to study the development of solids.
Oxide fuel cells for power generation, especially in gas turbines.
"Our job is to look at how fuel cells can have an impact on Rolls --
"Royce's business-it taught me a lot about real engineering," he said . ".
In the next six years, he was immersed in technology and achieved great success.
When he was seduced by Imperial College as a senior lecturer in 1998, he had left Rolls-Royce --
Royce with a rich heritage.
Not only did he and his colleagues design a different way of generating electricity, but he has three patents under his name and research is booming. Rolls-Royce’s fuel-
The cell research group is now one of the largest in Europe.
"When I started, there were only two of us," he said . ".
At Imperial College, he once again helped build a thriving fuel
Cell research unit starting from scratch.
"I joined in building fuel --
"Cell engineering group," he said.
"No one at the time.
Now there are 12 in the fuel.
There are also some 60 staff members in the group.
It was at this point that Brandon made a breakthrough that shaped his entire career.
A problem with the fuel cell at that time was that at temperatures above 900 °c, they could only generate energy in the MW range
With colleagues, John Kilner, Allen Atkinson and Brian Steele, he believes that the range of small battery kilowatts needed can work at lower temperatures, preferably below 600 °C.
"At the end of 1990 this was considered a ridiculous low temperature," he said . ".
"Everyone else is trying to reduce the temperature to a minimum of 750 °c.
Brandon and his colleagues used the rich materials of imperial technology to study, made some such small equipment and applied for a patent.
"This is the catalyst for entering the technology of Ceres Power," he said . ".
The company was founded in 2001 to bring the technology to market-and he found it both exciting and stressful --wracking.
"Your profession is highly credible and your reputation is high," he said . ".
"This is what people support.
The company, originally CEO of Brandon, helped raise a £ 4 million investment in the city.
He allocated his time between imperialism and emerging business, unwilling to lose touch with academic life.
At 2003, a complete
The time CEO was recruited, he became the CTO, and later became the chief scientist, which brought him back to his favorite R & D role.
This seems to be a relief.
"Being a CEO is like being an MBA," he said . ".
"Although I like it very much, it's not the profession I want.
Since then, he has continued this double
With the development of business and his academic career, the track exists.
He holds important positions in academia, from the operation of major research programmes to senior research grants (see “CV”).
You will expect Brandon to struggle in two careers.
"I am very satisfied with both," he said . ".
However, he admits it may be difficult to find enough time.
"I left home at 6.
Come back at 15 in the morning and seven o'clock P. M.
I like to be busy. I have always been busy.
What is the secret of his success?
"The key is to be able to solve a real problem and break it down into a series of questions answered by research," he said . ".
"That's what engineering means-applying science to a real problem.
So when will the company satisfy investors who have been clamoring to see the working prototype of this fuel? cell stack? Brandon pauses.
He knows very well that a wrong word may have various effects on Gu Shenxing's stock price. “Future-
He said: "In the face of the statement . . . . . . This is where we have to be careful . ". “People over-
Analyze what you said.
We are in the product development phase, engineering demonstrators testing fuelcell products.
I will not give a date because it is a hostage of wealth.
"I wonder if the pressure of so many expectations will affect him.
He smiled and his answer was pragmatic.
"I believe we have the best opportunities that anyone in the world offers us, so we have to do that," he said . ".
"Challenges are all feasible.
It's not a concern-that's why I got up in the morning.