Ceres Power aims for expansion

Ceres Power, the UK energy company behind new low-cost fuel cell technology, is poised to accelerate its commercialisation plans by floating on the stock exchange.

Sussex-based Ceres expects to raise up to £15m to fund its expansion by listing on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) before the end of this month.

Ceres’ technology is based on a decade of research at Imperial College into solid oxide fuel cells that can operate at lower temperatures than existing systems and cost less to produce.

Its cells are made from stainless steel components and thin ceramic coatings of ceria gadolinium oxide, allowing them to work at temperatures of around 500ºC compared with the 800ºC of conventional systems. They are also said to offer a quick response time and high durability compared with more complex alternatives.

Ceres hopes its technology, which can deliver between 1kW and 25kW of electric power, will find a wide range of applications. These include combined heat and power for domestic and business premises through integration with standard boilers, power supplies for remote locations where access to the national power grid is impractical or too expensive, and emergency back-up for vital equipment in sectors such as healthcare and IT.

The Ceres system could also provide auxiliary power units for vehicles, freeing the main engine from the need to provide power for electrical systems and boosting energy efficiency, the company said. The Ceres fuel cell can operate on natural gas, methanol and LPG as well as hydrogen. Trials are already underway in conjunction with industrial giant BOC to use bottled gas to generate electricity.The AIM flotation is expected to value Ceres Power at between £50m and £60m. Existing investors include The Carbon Trust, Japanese investment group Nikko and Imperial College.

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