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Ceres Power provides an update to shareholders on the significant technology progress

Ceres Power today provides an update to shareholders on the significant technology progress made since the Preliminary Results announcement in October 2011 together with changes to the organisation that strengthens and repositions the business to deliver the Company’s commercialisation plan. In addition, the Company announces changes to the Board.
Key Points
 Significant improvements demonstrated in durability of core fuel cell module technology
 Successful testing of CHP product engineering improvements
 CHP programme on schedule to commence in-home field trials later this year
 New appointments to senior management team
 Retirements of two non-executive directors
 £18.6m in net cash at 31 December 2011
David Pummell, Chief Executive, commented: “I am delighted with the excellent progress that we have made both in core fuel cell module technology and CHP product engineering improvements. The new appointments that I have made to my senior management team and the other organisational changes underway will help us deliver on our commitment to commence the next phase of in-home field trials later this year and underpin the launch of our CHP product in the UK with British Gas.”
For further

Ceres Power today provides an update to shareholders on the significant technology progress made since the Preliminary Results announcement in October 2011 together with changes to the organisation that strengthens and repositions the business to deliver the Company’s commercialisation plan. In addition, the Company announces changes to the Board.

Key Points

  • Significant improvements demonstrated in durability of core fuel cell module technology
  • Successful testing of CHP product engineering improvements
  • CHP programme on schedule to commence in-home field trials later this year
  • New appointments to senior management team
  • Retirements of two non-executive directors
  • £18.6m in net cash at 31 December 2011

David Pummell, Chief Executive, commented: “I am delighted with the excellent progress that we have made both in core fuel cell module technology and CHP product engineering improvements. The new appointments that I have made to my senior management team and the other organisational changes underway will help us deliver on our commitment to commence the next phase of in-home field trials later this year and underpin the launch of our CHP product in the UK with British Gas.”

Chief Executive Update

Following my appointment as Chief Executive in September 2011, I set out the plan to launch our first generation CHP product with British Gas in the UK market in H1 2014. To achieve this objective and to make Ceres a high performing company focused on commercial delivery, I have restructured the business operations, refocusing all of our resources on delivering the core CHP programme and meeting the key business milestones.

The Company’s current operational focus is to complete a programme of rigorous internal testing to assure complete validation of the CHP product’s reliability and durability prior to commencing the next phase of in-home field trials later this year. In parallel, we are continuing to improve the durability of the technology to meet the requirements of our go-to-market CHP product.

CHP Programme

Core Technology Progress

Since October 2011, the Company has delivered impressive advancements in the Ceres core fuel cell and stack technology. The enhanced cell interconnect coatings and processing of the cell interconnect component for current collection have resulted in substantial reductions in contact resistance and corrosion degradation. Cell degradation performance of less than 1% per 1000hrs has been delivered in stacks running for more than 4500hrs, and reductions in cell contact resistance of up to 50% have been achieved, leading to further improvements in the overall power of the fuel cell module. The baseline core cell technology is capable of achieving degradation rates in line with the requirements for our CHP product.

The improved cell design has been subjected to a number of accelerated stress tests designed to simulate in-field lifetime degradation mechanisms. Fuel cell stacks, operating under nominal power conditions, were subjected to more than 100 thermal cycles and 2,000 fuel interruption (redox) events, and have shown no signs of accelerated degradation. We believe that the results of these accelerated stress tests are indicative of operating start-stop regimes in excess of a 5 year period. This represents a substantial improvement in cell durability and resolves the power degradation issues witnessed in the in-home trials last year.

Taken together, these improvements in performance and durability of the core fuel cell technology underpin our confidence in the successful completion of the next phase of in-home field trials to be commenced later this year.

CHP System Engineering

We continue our long term test programme and this has demonstrated successful validation of the engineering solutions implemented to resolve the issues identified in the in-home field trials last year. These solutions are being tested over an extended period of time and under a variety of operating conditions to ensure that the field trials will commence on time and will be successfully completed, demonstrating reliability and durability in occupied homes in the field.

We are now finalising design modifications to the balance of plant components that improve thermal management of the fuel cell module and further optimise the flow control of fuel and water into the fuel cell stack. These engineering enhancements are required to incorporate the improved fuel cells we have installed within the CHP product.

Further refinements to the CHP product software and control strategies have been developed and we continue validation testing in CHP products in preparation for in-home field trials.

The CHP programme remains on schedule to commence the planned in-home field trials in H2 2012, underpinning a final set of field trials in 2013 ahead of the CHP product launch in H1 2014.

Changes to the Ceres Power Organisation

I have restructured the business operations to ensure that we have the right internal capabilities and processes to deliver the CHP programme and leverage the product engineering competencies of our supply chain partners in order to de-risk the CHP programme.

In implementing these changes my focus has been to achieve a step change in the effectiveness of the organisation, increasing our development productivity and pace, to deliver the key business milestones that will underpin a successful launch of our CHP product in the UK, namely; demonstrate we have a reliable and durable product that will enable us to deliver our commitment to commence successful field trials later this year.

I am pleased to announce the following new appointments to my senior management team:

  • David Jackson joined Ceres in November 2011 as Product Director to manage the CHP product delivery programme. David reports to me and is responsible for delivering the CHP product into production. He previously held senior positions at BAE Systems, where he managed multi-year product programmes and successfully launched a number of technically complex leading-edge products.
  • Ricardo Espinosa will join as Engineering Director with effect from 20 February 2012. Ricardo will report to me and will lead the engineering team responsible for product design, development and prototype testing. He brings exceptional engineering management experience and a track record of delivering new technologies to manufacturing. He joins from Azure Dynamics where he led the development and launch of hybrid drive systems with major partners such as Ford.

David and Ricardo both fill newly created posts within the organisation but will not involve an increase in headcount. Their proven experience in delivering new technologies will considerably strengthen our management focus in the areas of programme delivery and product design and development engineering.

Phil Whalen as Technology Director retains full accountability to develop the core technology for the CHP product and other applications in the future.

Summary

The Company has risen to the challenges of the past year and has in place the senior management team, organisational structure and necessary experience to provide the operational focus and rigour that will deliver the CHP programme, including in-home field trials later this year.

I look forward to updating investors on our progress over the next few months.

Changes to the Ceres Power Board

The Company has commenced a search to appoint one new non-executive director with relevant experience of developing and commercialising new technology consumer products, preferably gained within an advanced engineering company.

The Company announces that Sir David Brown, senior independent non-executive director, and Alan Wood, non-executive director, will retire on 29 February 2012. Following the appointment of the new non-executive director, the Board will consist of the non-executive chairman, three executive directors and two non-executive directors.

Brian Count, Chairman, commented: “The Board would like to thank Sir David and Alan for their valuable support and contributions to the Company since their appointments in February 2008.”

January 23, 2012 - 1:00 PM No Comments

Ceramic Fuel Cells and sanevo blue energy announce they have successfully introduced BlueGen to the German market.

German Distributor secures customers for first 100 BlueGens

First German utility marketing BlueGen to customers

Ceramic Fuel Cells (AIM / ASX: CFU) a leading developer of high efficiency and low emission power products for homes and other buildings, and its sales partner sanevo blue energy have successfully introduced BlueGen to the German market.

After only six weeks into sanevo’s marketing campaign, sanevo has received customer commitments for its first order of 100 BlueGen units. Sanevo has received commitments from public energy utilities in six German states as well as from residential and commercial customers. The BlueGen units are expected to be delivered and installed over the next six months.

Sanevo’s largest customer for BlueGen is Stadtwerke Aalen, the local electricity and gas utility in the region of Aalen in Southern Germany. Working with sanevo, Stadtwerke Aalen is now the first German utility to actively promote and support sales of BlueGen to its customers, including by providing an incentive payment to early BlueGen customers.

Ceramic Fuel Cells’ Managing Director Brendan Dow said: “This is a great start to our partnership with sanevo. There is huge interest in BlueGen from customers and utilities in Germany, plus supportive policy settings. We look forward to delivering on these first orders and securing larger follow on orders.”

BlueGen converts natural gas into electricity and heat for hot water for homes and other buildings. BlueGen delivers an electrical efficiency of up to 60 percent – the highest in the world. When the heat from BlueGen is used to produce hot water, total efficiency increases to up to 85 percent.

The launch offer by sanevo includes the supply and installation of the BlueGen, plus complete integration with hot water systems, as well as a three or ten-year full-service contract, including maintenance, warranty and support services.

Ceramic Fuel Cells appointed sanevo as a BlueGen distributor in July last year, with an initial order for 100 BlueGen units. sanevo has a target minimum of 500 units for delivery in its second year and a target of 2,000 BlueGens over years three and four.

In Germany a number of federal states are contemplating market introduction programs for fuel-cell based micro CHP systems. The federal state of Saxony has announced a ‘1,000 Basement Programme’ to provide financial incentives for installing fuel cell based micro CHP units. In late 2011 the state of North Rhine Westphalia also announced plans to increase the share of CHP electricity production to 25 percent, by providing funding of EUR 250 million over several years to support the deployment of local CHP systems.

January 23, 2012 - 7:37 AM No Comments

ITM Power announces that it has achieved CE compliance for a standardised HFuel product

ITM Power the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to announce that it has achieved CE compliance for a standardised HFuel product; the Company’s transportable hydrogen refueling system. This represents important progress, enabling commercial sales of such systems to commence in the EU. ITM Power has added a stationary electrolyser product to its portfolio (HPac40) which has also achieved CE compliance.

Following a competitive tender process, ITM Power won a contract to design and supply a refueling product to The University of Nottingham. This provided the opportunity to CE mark an HFuel generation, storage and dispensing product. A CE mark is one of the key measures for product readiness; signifying compliance with EU Directives and therefore enabling free movement within the European Market. It is notable that few sector peer group companies have achieved CE compliance for their products.

HFuel offers a flexible specification though modular design; each electrolyser generation module having the capacity to produce up to 5kg of hydrogen per 24 hours. This generation module has been developed as a standalone product called HPac40 to enable exposure to additional industrial hydrogen markets. This platform has also achieved CE compliance and will be launched at the next Hannover Messe in April 2012. This brings the portfolio of CE marked products to five; HFuel and HPac40 joining HPac10, HBox and HFlame all of which achieved CE compliance in 2011.

ITM Power continues to work closely with TUV SUD (the leading German test and certification body) to satisfy any additional local requirements for HFuel in Germany. Although much of the compliance work is common, some specific areas of difference exist between the UK and Germany, which are being addressed.

Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power commented: “I am delighted to be able to announce that we now have a CE compliant hydrogen refueling platform. Compliance has been a significant part of our product development process and its execution represents a huge achievement. At a time when the UK Government has demonstrated commitment to hydrogen as a transport fuel through the UKH2Mobility programme, we are delighted to be able to show how our technology has transitioned to product.

January 23, 2012 - 7:00 AM No Comments

AkzoNobel plant begins Generating Renewable Power with AFC Cells

Bloomberg— AkzoNobel NV, the biggest paintmaker, and AFC Energy Plc began generating power using waste hydrogen from a chlorine plant as the fuel-cell company seeks to produce clean energy at factories, supermarkets and department stores.

AFC installed two of its so-called Beta fuel-cell systems at the AkzoNobel plant in Bitterfeld, Germany, in October and they are now generating power, AFC said today in a statement.

That marks a step toward the “Holy Grail” of commercial operation, Howard White, founder of AFC, said by phone. “This will be the starting point for a pilot manufacturing facility, which in turn will be the template for our manufacturing as we go through into 2013, 2014 and then forward into large-scale manufacture for the multi-megawatt” technology, he said.

AFC in April signed an accord with John Lewis Partnership Plc to study the possibility of installing its fuel-cell system for electricity generation in Waitrose and John Lewis stores.

AFC may seek some of the 1 billion-pound ($1.6 billion) funds earmarked for the Iberdrola SA carbon-capture project that was scrapped in October. Its fuel cells can generate power from the hydrogen gas produced at carbon-capture and storage sites.

“We don’t compete with other fuel cells; we are aiming to compete with engines and gas turbines,” White said. “With what we’ve achieved so far, within a couple of years we could have a product competitive with conventional generating technologies.”

January 23, 2012 - 6:39 AM No Comments