Ceres Power Holdings plc ("Ceres" or the "Company") today is providing an update on the British Gas CHP programme, and announcing a product demonstration at the Company's HQ in September 2010 in conjunction with its preliminary results for the year ended 30th June 2010. Since the interim results we have achieved the following: · CHP product demonstrations conducted for British Gas Directors · CHP boiler assemblies now being produced by Daalderop in volume manufacturing plant · Sheltered field trials operated under 'real-life' conditions in unoccupied homes · CHP product remote data collection, diagnostics and operation demonstrated · Major process improvements to increase capacity and yield in the manufacture of fuel cells · Expanded CHP product testing capability at Horsham and Crawley sites The Company has been operating CHP units in sheltered field trials and in its own test facilities gaining valuable experience across a wide range of operating conditions. The experience from this testing means that the installation of CHP units in occupied homes for commercial field trials is now expected in Q4 2010 to enable completion of the required engineering design changes and CE marking certification. The systems engineering challenges associated with achieving the required product reliability and operating control strategy have involved both hardware and software modifications (including the associated design, procure, build and test cycle) which have taken more time to resolve than was anticipated. Accordingly, the Beta phase will now be extended to allow sufficient time to complete the required engineering iterations and we now expect initial product sales in mid 2012. We are working closely with British Gas to prepare for both initial product sales and an accelerated volume ramp-up within six months thereafter. Ceres has recently conducted CHP demonstrations for British Gas Directors at its new installer training facility in Horsham. The Company's wall mounted CHP product exported and imported power to and from the grid and delivered heating and hot water into a representative home energy system comprising hot water tank, central heating system including radiators and a smart meter. The CHP product demonstrations involved multiple start/stops and responses to calls for space heating from a room thermostat. We have also been working closely with British Gas to further optimise the CHP system's design for ease of installation in order to maximise the addressable market opportunity. Gearoid Lane, Managing Director of British Gas Communities and New Energy, commented: "Significant progress has been made by Ceres Power during the challenging Beta phase and we were pleased to see the working Beta CHP units and manufacturing operations. We look forward to working closely with Ceres Power to accelerate the mass market deployment of CHP units and offer British Gas customers the opportunity to generate their own electricity as part of our strategic commitment to a low carbon world." The Company expects to end its financial year on 30th June 2010 in a robust financial position with net cash and short-term investments of not less than £40m, in line with previous guidance. The Company will invite sell-side analysts to its Horsham headquarters on Wednesday 29th September 2010 to demonstrate its wall-mounted natural gas CHP Product, and provide a management presentation of its preliminary results and a tour of the production and test facilities. The directors will also present a full technology update including independent third party validation together with a revised roadmap for the CHP programme with British Gas. Peter Bance, Chief Executive Officer, Ceres Power, commented: "We are working hard to complete the re-engineering work ahead of installing CHP field trial units in consumers' homes later this year. British Gas is exploring opportunities with Ceres Power to accelerate the volume sales of our CHP product in the UK."
The new UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Association (UK HCFA) launched this week as the result of the merger of Fuel Cells UK and the UK Hydrogen Association.
The new industry body aims to provide a common voice for the sector, advocating a positive social, political and economic environment for the development of hydrogen energy and fuel cells in the UK.
With a membership comprising the leading fuel cell and hydrogen companies in the UK as well as a range of stakeholders, from energy utilities to component developers, fuel suppliers and others involved both directly and indirectly in the industry, the newly formed UK HCFA says it now has greater influence over key public and private stakeholders to support hydrogen energy and fuel cell research.
The UK HCFA will act on behalf of its members to deliver the necessary support to help hydrogen and fuel cells become a key component of a low carbon economy – reducing greenhouse gases, enhancing energy security and delivering ‘green collar’ jobs.
The UK HCFA aims to provide an authoritative point of contact and a clear, informed and current view on research, development and demonstration priorities for Government, other funding agencies and key influencers.
Prior to the merger, Fuel Cells UK utilised its collective industry voice at national and international level, working alongside the Treasury to successfully identify appropriate support mechanisms for fuel cells and lobbying Government on the introduction of feed-in tariffs for low carbon technologies.
The UK Hydrogen Association, prior to the merger, collaborated internationally and made significant progress towards defining routes for low carbon hydrogen delivered at competitive costs, doing much to demonstrate that this can be achieved safely, and diversifying energy options for consumers.
“The UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Association has the breadth of capability to shape the climate agenda today and drive hydrogen deployment and fuel cell commercialisation towards the low carbon economy of tomorrow,” said Dennis Hayter, newly appointed Chair of the UK HCFA. “We now have a common voice with which to ensure the industry receives all the support necessary to realise the tremendous potential it offers in meeting low carbon objectives in the UK.”
€13.7m second round funding
Paris-– Sofinnova Partners, acting as a leading investor, Gimv and Amundi Private Equity Funds announced today their investment in McPhy Energy, together with the historic investors in a second round of funding worth €13.7m. The funds will be used towards the global expansion of McPhy Energy and the further industrialisation and commercialisation of its products.
McPhy Energy is an innovative French company founded in January 2008 with the mission to industrialise and commercialise a new technology for the solid storage of hydrogen in the form of magnesium hydride. The company has developed an alternative solution for the on-site production of hydrogen for the industry sector and for the renewable energy sector a concrete solution to solve the issue of energy storage.
Following a €1.6m first round of financing in January 2009 from Emertec and Areva, the firm established its production line and created a reservoir of magnesium hydride that was delivered to CEA-Liten in March 2010 for testing on an industrial scale. The company is now developing a second large-capacity reservoir that will become operational during the second half of 2010.
The second round of funds will allow the start-up to scale quickly, from both an industrial and commercial development point of view, by reinforcing its commercial and technical team and investing in additional production equipment. Already present in Spain and in Italy, the company also plans to open offices in Germany, Northern Europe, the Middle East and Japan.
“Through our innovative and very promising technology, McPhy Energy offers a new perspective on technical, ecological and economical solutions in the areas of industrial hydrogen distribution and energy storage,” explains Pascal Mauberger, CEO of McPhy Energy. “We are proud that such experienced investors share our enthusiasm for McPhy Energy’s advanced technology and will accompany us in further developing critical alternatives in these two fields,” he added.
“Following past investments in DNP Green, Revolt Technology and Neosens, this latest investment in McPhy Energy is proof of Sofinnova Partners’ continued interest in the Cleantech sector,” says Alessio Beverina, Principal at Sofinnova Partners. “McPhy Energy exemplifies what we actively seek in a start-up: an innovative technology that solves an unanswered issue in a growing international market and, above all, a high-quality managerial team which has already successfully proven itself and demonstrated its entrepreneurial spirit.”
“Over the past two years, McPhy Energy has finalised its unique hydrogen storage technology. It is now ready to enter several promising market segments. We are convinced that solid state hydrogen storage will be one of the winning solutions to address the growing need for green and large-scale energy storage,” says Bart Diels, Partner at Gimv. “McPhy Energy signifies our first Cleantech deal in France, where Gimv already concluded two other venture capital transactions in the past twelve months.“
“McPhy Energy represents a great opportunity to continue the development of our activity and expertise in the Cleantech sector,” explains Florent Thomann, Investment Manager at Amundi PEF. “The powerful, breakthrough technology, an advanced industrial product on the brink of market launch, combined with an experienced and complementary management team and a huge market potential convinced us to accompany McPhy. Its unique product offering will enable McPhy not only to make industrial hydrogen use easy, but to solve one of today’s major problems : the storage of energy,” he added.
Clipperton Finance acted as Sole Manager of the transaction. “We are very proud to have been able to advise the company and its management through this critical phase of McPhy’s development, and very confident that the company’s syndicate of experienced investors will be instrumental for its success,” commented Nicolas von Bülow and Thomas Neveux, the Partners at Clipperton Finance in charge of the operation.
About McPhy Energy
McPhy Energy is a young French innovative company created in 2008, with the mission to industrialize and commercialize an innovative solid-state hydrogen storage technology using magnesium hybrid, that offers unique advantages compared to other hydrogen storage solutions. The technology addresses the merchant hydrogen and renewable energy markets. McPhy owns exclusive rights on a portfolio of unique patents, which results from over 8 years of research at the CNRS and CEA, in partnership with Joseph Fourier University. Member of the TENERRDIS cluster, McPhy Energy is involved as a partner or a subcontractor in several research projects.
For further information: www.mcphy.com
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is an independent venture capital firm based in Paris, France. For over 35 years, the firm has backed nearly 500 companies at different stages of development – pure creations, spin-offs, as well as turnaround situations – and worked alongside Europe’s key entrepreneurs in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors. With €1.1 billion of funds under management, Sofinnova Partners’ experienced team and hands-on approach in building portfolio companies through to exit have created market leaders, from landmark historical investments including Genentech, Actelion and Vistaprint to more recent successes such as CoreValve, Novexel, Fovea and Sensitive Object. With a global mindset, the firm has a sister organization in San Francisco, California.
Please visit www.sofinnova.fr for more information on Sofinnova’s team and portfolio.
Gimv is a European investment company with 30 years of experience in private equity and venture capital. The company is listed on NYSE Euronext Brussels and currently manages around EUR 1.8 billion of assets (including third party funds).
Gimv undertakes buyouts and provides growth capital to established companies. Local teams in Belgium, France, The Netherlands and Germany concentrate on these activities. Gimv-XL provides growth financing to larger growth companies in Flanders. Gimv makes venture capital investments in high tech sectors through its specialist teams in Life Sciences, Technology and Cleantech.
Its DG Infra+ fund also focuses on infrastructure projects in the Benelux. Gimv is also active in Central and Eastern Europe through several funds and joint ventures.
For more information about Gimv, please visit our website: www.gimv.com.
Amundi ranks third in Europe1 and among the top ten global players in asset management2 with around €688 billion under management3.
Located at the heart of the main investment regions in more than 30 countries, Amundi offers a comprehensive range of products covering all asset classes and major currencies.
Amundi develops savings solutions to meet the needs of more than 100 million retail customers worldwide and designs innovative, high-performing products for institutional clients which are tailored specifically to their requirements and risk profile. Benefiting from the support of two powerful banking groups, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale, Amundi aims to establish itself as the undisputed leader in asset management in Europe, recognised for:
- the quality of its products, their financial performance and transparency
- its close relations with customers, partner networks and institutions
- the efficiency of its organisation, resulting from the individual and collective talents of its teams
- a commitment to integrate sustainability and social purpose criteria into its investment policies, going beyond financial criteria alone.
1. IPE Top 400 survey published July 2009, data at 31 December 2008
2. GI 100 ranking published September 2008, data at June 2008
3. Amundi Group figures as at 31 March 2010
About Clipperton Finance
Based in Paris and London, Clipperton Finance is a European corporate finance boutique dedicated to the High Tech and Media industries. Clipperton is focused on high-growth companies in the Internet, Software, Telecom, Components, Clean Tech, MedTech and Media spaces, advising them in their financial transactions: fundraising/capital increases and Mergers & Acquisitions.
Over the past years the company and its team have successfully structured numerous high level international transactions in the European High Tech sector.
For more information, visit: www.clipperton.net
A government-industry collaborative research program on advanced automotive technologies should continue to work on fuel cells and other far-off technologies, in addition to more immediately promising transportation options such as electric vehicles and biofuels, according to a review by the National Academies.
The FreedomCAR (Cooperative Automotive Research) and Fuel Partnership — which includes the Energy Department, major automakers, five major oil and gas companies and two electric utilities — performs a range of research and development on vehicle technologies.
Created in 2002 by the George W. Bush administration, the program initially focused primarily on fuel-cell systems that would use hydrogen to store energy. But in 2009, the Obama administration proposed zeroing out funding for the related DOE program — a cut that Congress reversed through appropriations — and pushed the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership to look at other emerging vehicle technologies.
An assessment published today by the academies’ National Research Council repeated a message it sent a year ago in response to that change: Hydrogen and fuel-cell research is an appropriate task for the public-private research effort.
“Although it’s important to work on near-term technologies, it’s equally important for the partnership to perform the type of high-risk research in areas such as hydrogen that would not otherwise be taken on by the private sector, especially as the economy is still recovering,” said Vernon Roan, who led the review and was director of the Center of Advanced Studies in Engineering at the University of Florida before his retirement.
The partnership has identified three primary pathways that the auto industry could follow in its technological development. Combustion engines could be improved and paired with biofuels; plug-in vehicles and battery-powered electric cars could shift part of the nation’s transportation energy to the electric grid; or hydrogen could become a major transportation fuel through the adoption of fuel-cell vehicle technologies.
The new program evaluation says that in light of those options, “long-term, high-risk, high-payoff” research and development on fuel cells and hydrogen are an appropriate area for government support that might not be carried out otherwise.
The review recommends balancing that out with intensified research to improve high-energy batteries, both for plug-in and battery electric vehicles.
The review recommended closer work on a number of technical challenges related to advanced vehicles. Some of those include developing an approach to assess the safety of lithium-ion battery packs, researching battery recycling, renewing the program’s focus on developing on-car hydrogen storage systems, and expanding assessments and comparisons of all the fuel-use scenarios envisioned by the program.
Click here to read the program assessment.