Astris Energi Inc., developers of alkaline fuel cell energy systems, have announced that its first prototype cells for commercial power generators in portable, stationary and vehicular applications will be available for testing before the end of October.Mississauga, Ontario, Canada – September 26, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The completion of its advanced POWERSTACK MC250 cell has made this schedule possible, according to Jiri K. Nor, president of Astris. He said the development program for this commercial product was accelerated last spring when demand suddenly increased following the demise of England’s ZeTek Power LLC, the only other producer of alkaline fuel cells in the world. ZeTek had a number of joint venture partners with energy systems depending on ZeTek energy systems, most of which have now come to Astris. “Fortunately,” Nor said, “our MC250 is similar in power rating and more compact than the ZeTek cells, so their direct replacement with our units is easy.” A major milestone in development of the MC250 was reached just last week with the completion of a key manufacturing component, the prototype molds. They have now been fabricated and electrodes for the first prototypes have been prepared, Nor reported. “The first molding runs will begin the first week in October,” he added, “and without any unforeseen delays, the first prototype cells should reach the test stage shortly thereafter.” Concurrently, the company’s facilities here have been doubled in size to accommodate volume production of the MC250, now scheduled for next spring. Astris is now seeking additional working capital to speed this process, according to Nor.