Fuel cells for all

British Gas is to work on a commercial development programme with Ceres Power to provide domestic boilers that produce electricity as well as heat.

Powered by fuel cells, the new boilers will have the potential to dramatically reduce household energy bills and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

The two companies have signed a heads of agreement to determine how a fuel cell developed by Ceres can be packaged into a complete combined heat and power (CHP) unit that will provide household electricity as well as heat for hot water and central heating.

The Ceres fuel cell will use natural gas already piped into the home, generating heat and electricity when fuel is passed across its surface. A cube of cells, each about the size of a CD case but wafer-thin, will form the heart of a new generation of home boilers.

Ceres Power CEO Peter Bance said: “The insight British Gas can provide into the requirements of home owners will be invaluable in helping us tailor the design for mass-market application.”

Mr Bance added: “Our ultimate goal is to enable people to have a highly efficient, extremely safe and environmentally-friendly miniature power station in their homes, saving them money on their energy bills and enhancing Britain’s energy security.”