A pioneering Horsham firm producing next generation fuel cell technology has signed a new development agreement with Honda.
The contract between Ceres Power, which is based in Foundry Lane employing almost 100 people, and the Japanese multinational will see the two companies work together to develop the steel cell technology for a range of potential power equipment uses.
The agreement looks to build on a previous contract signed between the two parties back in October 2014.
Phil Caldwell, chief executive at Ceres, said the latest agreement with Honda was a ‘huge endorsement’ of their steel cell technology.
He added: “All the people who work here I think are working here because they are very excited about the technology and the potential for it.
“There’s a big sense of purpose. This technology can make people’s lives better and it’s at the cutting edge of science. It’s exciting that we can work with organisations as big as Honda.”
He explained that the technology could be used to generate electricity and heat in homes and businesses, reducing both energy bills and the carbon footprint. A fuel cell system in a home powered by natural gas would generate both electricity and heat through chemical reactions rather than by burning the fuel.
Mr Caldwell described the country’s current energy systems as a ‘bit of a dinosaur’ and argued their technology represented a ‘step change in the way we generate power’, especially with increased urbanisation. Japan is looking to put fuel cell technology in five million homes by 2030, but Mr Caldwell expects the UK to follow suit in the next few years.
He explained that fuel cells had a ‘huge range of applications’, such as operating as auxiliary power units in vehicles, and their business model was to look for partners in different sectors across the world to develop new applications. He added: “We are very ambitious with what we can do with this technology.”
The company was founded following research by Brian Steele, a professor at Imperial College London, who proved ceramics could be put on steel without destroying the metal.
Mr Caldwell added: “Over the past 15 years the business has progressed a long way.”
He explained that their Horsham base had sufficient capacity for them to expand as a business, and although they might expand into the Far East, he expected the core research and development facilities to remain in the town.
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