Ceres Power’s solid oxide fuel cell Alpha CHP unit passes British Gas product testing

UK-based solid oxide fuel cell developer Ceres Power has announced the successful design, build and testing of 1 kW grid-connected combined heat and power (CHP) products that meet all of the deliverables under the ‘Alpha’ phase of the company’s CHP program in conjunction with British Gas. This important milestone has been achieved within the timescale set out in the roadmap that Ceres agreed last year with BG.

The grid-connected 1 kW CHP products were tested on mains natural gas under representative residential operating conditions. They met most of a typical home’s electricity requirements, as well as exporting and importing power to and from the grid as required.

The Ceres CHP product integrates the company’s 1 kW intermediate-temperature SOFC module with all of the ancillary boiler components into a single unit, to meet all of the home’s hot water and central heating requirements, and avoiding the need for a separate boiler. The wall-mountable CHP product uses the same natural gas, water and electricity connections as existing boilers, and has been designed for ease of installation, service and maintenance.

During the trials conducted in the Alpha phase, key tests were witnessed and data verified by British Gas and an independent third-party gas appliance testing company appointed by BG. All of the Alpha CHP product requirements – including performance, size, weight and regulatory compliance – were successfully achieved. British Gas has issued an acceptance certificate that triggers the £2m (US$3.2m) Alpha milestone payment to be paid to Ceres.

Ceres has already commenced the design and procurement activities of the Beta phase of the CHP program, to produce Beta CHP units for field trials, incorporating refinements arising from the Alpha phase testing. The fit-out of the new volume manufacturing plant in Horsham is well under way, with initial operations scheduled to begin later this year. The company is on track to achieve market launch of the residential CHP product with British Gas in the second half of 2011.

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Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells