Ceres Power to Add to Fuel-Cell Alliances in U.S., Japan, Korea

Ceres Power Holdings Plc, a maker of fuel cells providing power from homes to data centers, plans to tie up with more U.S., Japanese and Korean companies to give it a foothold in a market seen reaching $20 billion in a decade.

“Now we have leading companies out there commercializing and using fuel cells, the next step in this evolution is mass-market adoption,” Chief Executive Officer Philip Caldwell said in an interview in London on April 15.

Homes and businesses are installing fuel cells to produce local clean power and cut the cost of delivering electricity through the grid. South Korea offers subsidies for use of the devices and Japan is seeking to produce more power outside the grid as it recovers from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The world market surpassed $1 billion in 2012 and is forecast to grow to more than $20 billion in the next 10 years, Caldwell said.

“Japan and Korea post-Fukushima have a critical need for highly efficient power generation and the U.S. changing from importing gas to being a net exporter of gas means that the macroeconomics are now right for adoption,” he said.

The Horsham, England-based company plans to bring in more partners for residential units in Japan and business operations in the U.S. in the next six months. Ceres Power last month agreed to work with Cummins Power Generation Inc. in the U.S., In South Korea, it’s already working with Kyung Dong Navien Co.

The company expects to double sales in this financial year, Caldwell said. He sees Japan, South Korea and the U.S. as leaders in the industry. “They are where the investment has gone in fuel cells and where the global original equipment manufacturers are that have invested in these products,” he said.

The company’s fuel cells convert natural gas or hydrogen into power and heat. While Ceres Power’s focus is on home and business markets, fuel cells can also be used in transportation.

Plug Power Inc. shares have surged almost fivefold in New York trading this year after receiving an order from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to power electric forklift trucks.

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