British Gas' Ceres investment will cut household emissions
British Gas is investing in Ceres Power Holdings' boiler technology to cut the UK's household carbon emissions by up to 50%.
Plans to develop household boilers powered by fuel cells, which produce up to two and a half tonnes less CO2 per year than a standard boiler, would cut the UK's domestic CO2 emissions by the equivalent of eight power stations.
Centrica plc, British Gas' parent company, announced on January 15 its decision to buy shares in Ceres Power Holdings. Under the terms of the agreement, British Gas will provide funding to Ceres for activities leading up to the product's commercial launch.
The new fuel cell powered boilers generate both heat and electricity for the home through an electrochemical reaction. Conventional centralised power generation suffers from reduced efficiency through wasted heat and the losses associated with transporting electricity through the grid, the new boilers will generate electricity directly in the home, avoiding such wastage and capturing heat for domestic hot water and heating.
The Ceres fuel cell to be used in the new boilers is about the size and shape of a CD case. The cells, each made from stainless steel, stack together to make powerful generators. The cell's ceramic coating includes cathode, anode and electrolyte layers, with a combined thickness of a human hair. A fuel cell stack is designed to provide sufficient power to meet most of the needs of a typical UK home.
The new technology comes at a time when the government aims to reduce domestic CO2 emissions, by 26% by 2020.
The improved efficiency of new boilers could also save households 25% on their annual energy costs.
Gearoid Lane, Director of British Gas New Energy, said: 'If the government's target to reduce CO2 emissions is to be met, households and property developers must look at ways of reducing emissions and this technology will play an important part in doing this.'
15 January 2008