Ceres Power has become the only fuel cell company in the UK government’s recently launched new Energy Research Partnership (ERP).

Ceres is working with British Gas to develop CHP micro-generation products that run off natural gas and other clean fuels and will work with key energy companies including BP, Shell, E.On, ITI Energy, Scottish & Southern Electricity, BNFL, Alstom, Mitsui Babcock and National Grid, as well as public sector organisations including DEFRA, the DTI and the Carbon Trust.

Ceres chief executive Peter Bance said: “We see it as a clear indication that fuel cell products running on natural gas are positioned to make an early and exciting contribution to energy and environmental savings, and are seen as a major solution by both government and industry.”

The key objectives of the ERP, set up by Chancellor Gordon Brown so that private and public funders of energy research can work together, are to identify policy drivers, regulatory changes, emerging technologies and new R&D areas.

In April, the government is expected to launch its “Micro-generation Strategy” identifying domestic micro-generation as a major technology suited to mass-market up-take.