On Friday 4th December, Cella Energy attended the ICIS awards ceremony to receive the ICIS Best Innovation by an SME Award.
The event, organised and run by ICIS with its sponsors, Roland Berger and U.S. Chemicals was held at The Lanesborough in London. The judging was conducted by a group of leading industry experts in the chemical and energy industries and looked for innovative projects that solve problems and provide solutions for companies, their customers and society as well as the environment.
Cella Energy has developed a way of storing and delivering hydrogen in pellet form, making it attractive for use in powering fuel cells. The company is currently developing power supplies based on their innovative storage material to use in aerospace and UAVs as a power source providing up to three times the power of a Lithium-ion battery of the same weight. Other areas of interest and development include Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles as well as reducing emissions in diesel powered vehicles by adding hydrogen to the air intake of a diesel engine.
Cella was spun out of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in 2011 with connections with UCL and Oxford University. The company has 20 staff and is based in the UK with a facility atthe Kennedy Space Center in the US. The development came out of work into the use of nanotechnology to improve the performance of hydrogen storage materials that Stephen Bennington, Managing Director of Cella Energy, was doing at University College London (UCL) and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK.
Bennington chose to work with ammonia borane, which had come out of US Department of Energy-funded research into hydrogen storage. “The pre-cursor chemicals were cheap and readily available and material stored huge amounts of hydrogen and released it at sensible temperatures,” he says. However, ammonia borane had a couple of problems. For rapid hydrogen release it needed to be heated to 120-150°C but it melted at 100°C. “The result would be a horrible foaming mess,” explains Bennington. The other problem was that it took 5-10 minutes for the hydrogen to be released once the material had been heated.