The AIM-listed firm said the combined team had produced a prototype 30 kilowatt SteelCell solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) range extender system, which met required performance criteria and would be demonstrated in an electric city bus utilising compressed natural gas as fuel.
Ceres said the prototype marked the completion of the initial joint development agreement with the Chinese engines colossus, the first part of a deal signed by the two firms in May 2018. State-backed Weichai bought a 20% stake in Ceres last year.
The two are now focused on developing what the company said was a “next stage system” for bus field trials in 2020, with a view to then establish a fuel cell manufacturing joint venture (JV) in Shandong Province, China, to produce SteelCell SOFC systems.
Phil Caldwell, Ceres chief executive, said that the prototype was a “key development milestone” for its partnership with Weichai, adding that China was the world’s fastest growing market for fuel cells and the electric bus sector offered “particularly significant potential” as part of the broader growth.
“Our focus now is on developing and trialing the technology further in 2020 and to establish a high-volume manufacturing JV alongside Weichai in Shandong Province in order to best serve the Chinese market", Caldwell said.
In early trading on Thursday, Ceres shares were up 2.2% at 189.5p.