Ceres Power Holdings plc
16 May 2007
Press Release for 16 May 2007 - FINAL
Ceres Power Holdings plc
('Ceres', 'Ceres Power' or the 'Company')
Ceres secures regional development agency funding for
fuel cell manufacturing process development
Ceres Power, the AIM-quoted fuel cell group, today announces that it has been
successful in securing a #0.5 million Exceptional Development grant from SEEDA,
the South East England Development Agency. SEEDA has awarded Ceres this grant
through a national DTI programme, to assist with the advance of new technology
that is strategically important to the UK.
The grant will be used towards the development and commissioning of fuel cell
manufacturing machinery and processes in Ceres Power's Product Facility which is
on track to begin this summer. The Product Facility will enable Ceres to
validate key fuel cell manufacturing processes prior to the Company's planned
investment in a mass manufacturing plant (the 'Mother Plant') in 2008.
The Company's strategy is to reduce risks en route to mass production,
simultaneously with its product development programme. Through this concurrent
approach, trials of the Company's CHP products benefit from incorporating fuel
cells manufactured using commercially viable scalable processes.
Over the past two years, Ceres has successfully recruited key employees to
manage its manufacturing, engineering, procurement and quality functions to
ensure a smooth transition to the automated manufacture of its fuel cell
technology in preparation for mass production.
Peter Bance, CEO of Ceres Power, comments:
'We are delighted to be awarded this valuable grant to help us de-risk the mass
manufacture of our fuel cells prior to investment in the Mother Plant in 2008.
The Product Facility will help us to develop the capability to deliver cost
effective, high quality end-products for what we anticipate could be very high
Jeff Alexander, Executive Director Global Competitiveness at SEEDA, comments:
'This commitment illustrates how the South East of England has positioned itself
for the high-growth, leading-edge technology, alternative energy sector. We are
pleased to be able to support a world-class business like Ceres Power whose
unique technology has the potential to address the long-term issues of energy
savings, emissions reductions and fuel poverty in both private and public sector
For further information contact:
Rex Vevers, Finance Director, Ceres Power +44 (0) 1293 400 404
Elly Williamson, M: Communications +44 (0) 207 153 1530
Francesca Fogell, SEEDA Marketing & PR Manager +44 (0) 1483 484 275
- ends -
The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) is the Government funded
Agency responsible for the sustainable economic development and regeneration of
the South East of England - the driving force of the UK's economy. Our aim is to
create a prosperous, dynamic and inspirational region by helping businesses
compete more effectively, training a highly skilled workforce, supporting and
enabling our communities while safeguarding our natural resources and cherishing
our rich cultural heritage.
The Regional Economic Strategy (RES) for South East England 2006 -2016: a world
class region achieving sustainable prosperity.
The RES has three headline targets. Progress towards all three of these will
provide evidence of overall progress against the vision:
Global Competitiveness: Achieving an average annual increase in GVA (Gross Value
Added) per capita of at least 3%.
Smart Growth: Increasing productivity per worker by an average 2.4% annually,
from #39,000 in 2005 to at least #50,000 by 2016 (in constant prices).
Sustainable Prosperity: Reducing the rate of increase in the region's ecological
footprint (from 6.3 global hectares per capita in 2003, currently increasing at
1.1% per capita per annum), stabilizing it and seeking to reduce it by 2016.
About Ceres Power
Ceres is a successful AIM-listed fuel cell business developing a range of global
market applications including residential combined heat and power, on-site /
back-up generators and auxiliary power units for transport. The technology is
based on commercially available materials for low cost manufacture and unlike
many fuel cells, the Ceres cell operates on widely available fuels like natural
gas and LPG, as well as on hydrogen.
Ceres has developed a new generation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology
which operates in the temperature range of 500-600 degrees centigrade. This is
substantially lower than the temperatures at which conventional SOFC materials
operate, typically 800-1000 degrees centigrade for YSZ (Yttria Stabilised
The inherently lower operating temperature of the Ceres CGO based SOFC
technology enables thin ceramic layers to be supported by metal substrates,
which, in turn, provides the basis of cell and stack designs manufactured from
commercially available grades of stainless steel, providing excellent sealing
integrity, mechanical robustness, and thermal shock resistance.
Fuel and air are supplied to a stack of fuel cell layers to produce electricity
and heat via a solid state electrochemical process, similar to a battery.
Unlike combustion in an engine or with a burner, this solid state process is
highly efficient, environmentally friendly, and quiet.
The uniqueness of the Ceres metal supported SOFC technology and its operating
temperature range provide the basis for a range of attractive commercial
applications in terms of: fuel efficiency, with associated economic savings and
reduction in carbon emissions; heat-to-power ratio ideally suited for domestic
CHP applications and well matched to seasonal variations in electrical and heat
demand; the ability to operate on a range of commercially available fuels
including natural gas and LPG; low temperature of operation enabling use of
commercially available materials resulting in reduced product costs.
In conjunction with the Ceres stack programme, the Company has been developing
the non-fuel cell elements within the complete product, known as the balance of
plant ('BOP'), as part of its systems integration activities aimed at delivering
products for specific customers. Because of the unique attributes of the
technology, Ceres has been able to dramatically reduce the time and cost of BOP
development and systems integration by utilising mature component supply chains
and ordinary, low cost materials. Unlike other fuel cell designs which operate
at more extreme temperatures, time-consuming and expensive bespoke solutions for
BOP components are not required.
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange