Grid Scale, Storage

MTI MicroFuel Cells Advances Toward Commercialization

In another significant move toward the development of commercially viable micro fuel cells to power a variety of handheld devices, MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. (MTI Micro), a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology Inc., has demonstrated a breakthrough in micro fuel cell design and system architecture.

Albany, New York – August 9, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The company unveiled a simple direct methanol micro fuel cell prototype system that can be scaled to applications ranging from chargers to battery replacements, for a wide range of portable devices. “Our simple system design eliminates the need for multiple pumps and water collection external to the cell, making it easier and cheaper to manufacture, while still allowing the use of more concentrated fuel,” said Dr. William Acker, president and chief executive officer, MTI MicroFuel Cells, Inc. The prototype demonstrated 0.24 watt-hours per cubic centimeter (“cc”) of fuel consumed and is projected to yield up to five watt-hours of energy content. The prototype includes a replaceable methanol fuel cartridge, requires no pumps and works in any orientation (e.g., “upside down”). MTI Micro completed the prototype two months ahead of schedule and met its stated milestone of a 50 percent reduction in size from that of its October 2001 prototype. The prototype features a completely integrated system that combines the fuel cell, a DC-DC converter, a replaceable fuel cartridge, and controls for both the charging process and the fuel feed rate. The prototype includes a number of components that MTI Micro specifically developed, including a proprietary DC-DC converter that is running at greater than 90 percent efficiency with a size of less than 1.5 cc. Because it was designed to function as an auxiliary charger or battery extension pack, this prototype does not contain a small hybridizing battery (5 cc), which was included in past prototypes. “MTI Micro’s new system design offers a clear path to significantly higher energy density,” said Dr. Shimshon Gottesfeld, vice president and chief technology officer. Gottesfeld noted that “based on our technical progress, I am confident that we can decrease the size and increase the energy content of future fuel cell systems.” The fuel cell system prototype is MTI Micro’s third and half the size of the prototype the company showed just 10 months ago. The company plans to commercialize direct methanol micro fuel cells in 2004, providing an alternative power source for portable electronic devices including cell phones, laptops, PDAs, and other handheld electronic devices used in consumer, commercial, and military markets. (Nasdaq: MKTY)