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Fuel Cells: Ceres to power on to Aim valued at £60m

Ceres Power, an award-winning environmental technology company, is to float on Aim within the next 10 days valuing the business at around £60m.

Ceres, which is led by Peter Bance, the chief executive, has developed a revolutionary heat and power boiler that will allow householders to produce their own electricity as well as hot water from domestic gas supplies.

The company was singled out for praise by Tony Blair, the prime minister, in a speech on climate change in September as an example of a British firm developing world-beating technology. Last year it won the inaugural Low Carbon Innovation Award, in a scheme jointly run by The Sunday Telegraph and Carbon Trust, a government-backed body set up to help the UK become a low-carbon economy.

Ceres's device, known as a fuel cell, produces electricity and usable heat when gas is passed over one side of a special membrane and air is passed over the other. A number of utility companies are said to be interested in installing the devices for their customers, while BOC, the industrial gases giant, is running a trial to use the technology with bottled gases in locations where mains supplies are unavailable.

The fuel cells produce substantial energy savings for users and will reduce CO2 emissions.

The problem with previous versions of fuel cells is that they have worked only with hydrogen and have required expensive platinum components. The advantage of the Ceres cell is that it is made largely from stainless steel and ceramics using fairly standard low-cost manufacturing techniques.

Editorial Notes: That the device produces a lot of heat is not encouraging. Heat is a waste product and the ideal aimed for by fuel cell manufacturers is minimum heat loss. -AF

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