Ceres Power Moves Toward Fuel Cell Production

December 14, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Ceres Power Ltd. has won a new contract that will accelerate its mass-manufacturing capability and enable it to meet the rapid growth in demand expected from its target markets.

Ceres has been awarded a £0.5 million contract by The Carbon Trust to assist development of mass production processes for its fuel cells ahead of their anticipated arrival in home and industrial products. The company is already running a test-bed production facility at its Crawley headquarters near Gatwick Airport.

Ceres Chief Executive Peter Bance said: "We are currently working with British Gas and BOC (a British supplier of industrial gases) to develop marketable products based on our break through technology. This new contract will help move our volume manufacturing strategy forward so that we can meet predicted mar et demand to the highest quality and reliability standards at the lowest possible cost."

Ceres is partnering with British Gas to incorporate its fuel cells in domestic boilers that will produce both heat and electricity. A similar program is under way with BOC to develop fuel cell products using bottled gas for applications where connection to the grid is unfeasible or uneconomic.

Unlike many fuel cells that can operate only on pure hydrogen, the patented Ceres technology can also operate on readily available fuels like natural gas and propane. The technology is not dependent on the widespread development of a hydrogen economy, but will work effectively when this comes about. The fuel cells can be manufactured inexpensively using low-cost materials and established mass-production techniques.

The cells are made from stainless steel components and thin ceramic coatings. These core elements are perfectly matched when it comes to thermal expansion. They are constructed in such a way as to make them modular for total flexibility using standard sealing technology. And they can be manufactured affordably and are extremely robust.