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Micro Fuel Cell Developer Delivers on Energy Density Milestone

June 26, 2006

MTI Micro achieves 30% increase in fuel efficiency in laboratory test unit. Possible applications for low-power platform range from powering sensors for surveillance along U.S. borders to deploying sensors in enemy territory for combat operations.


ALBANY, N.Y. /PRNewswire/ -- MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. (MTI Micro), the developer of the award-winning Mobion micro fuel cell technology and a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology Inc., announced that it has achieved an energy density of over 1.3Wh per cc of fuel on a 30 W Mobion laboratory test unit. This significant achievement represents more than a 30% increase in fuel efficiency and is an important technical milestone as MTI Micro moves forward in developing Mobion products for a range of applications targeted for the military market.

"Achieving both fuel efficiency and power together in the same lab unit is key to making lighter and smaller products with longer run-times than batteries," said Russel Marvin, Chief Operating Officer of MTI Micro. "This is an important step in our DMFC development efforts."

For the military markets, MTI Micro is focusing its proprietary Mobion technology, along two separate platforms—a 30 W high-power platform and a 1 W low-power platform—both targeting key portable applications used in day-to-day military operations.

"We recognize what our military customers need—a rugged, light, compact power-pack that can work in most operational environments and run longer than batteries," said Juan Becerra, vice president of market and business development for MTI Micro. "We are focused on developing products that can meet those requirements and improve the mobility and effectiveness of our soldiers."

For high-power applications, MTI Micro's unique direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) system, Mobion-30, is being designed to produce up to 30 W of continuous power in a portable, lightweight, energy-rich power-pack, allowing deployed soldiers to continue the use of multiple portable electronic devices, such as communication radios, satellite equipment, laptops, and GPS devices, for much longer periods of time. The Mobion-30 system is expected to eliminate the need to carry multiple battery types and the constant swapping of batteries during the course of a mission. In addition, the Mobion-30 may help reduce military operational and logistics costs of tracking, shipping and disposing of millions of batteries.

"The latest accomplishments in fuel cell efficiency by MTI Micro are very exciting to AFRL. In particular, these results bode well for the man-pack communications satellite equipment that is being developed by AFRL at this time," said William Cook, senior engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate. "The recent MTI Micro accomplishments will allow for great reductions in the weight of the power system needed to operate the satellite equipment. This is critical for the dismounted soldier. AFRL is anxious to incorporate the MTI fuel cell technology and is looking forward to working with MTI Micro in this area."

When compared with batteries required for a 72 hr. mission, the Mobion-30 and two of its easy-to-swap, 100% methanol cartridges are expected to weigh less than one-half the weight of currently used batteries—a critical parameter for deployed soldiers in the field, who have to make trade-offs between carrying batteries and other essential gear, such as ammunition, food, and water.

In the low-power military space, MTI Micro's proprietary Mobion technology, Mobion-1, is designed to produce 1 W of continuous power and is intended for applications with minimal power needs but continuous, unattended run-time. Possible applications for our Mobion-1 range from powering sensors for surveillance and monitoring equipment along U.S. borders for homeland defense to deploying sensors in enemy territory for surveillance and combat operations, where changing batteries is not desirable.

As part of its military market entry strategy, MTI Micro has met a number of milestones in 2005 and has forged strategic relationships to initially penetrate the market. MTI Micro is currently working on a project for the US Army as part of a contract with Saft America to jointly develop a hybrid system combining Mobion fuel cells and Li-Ion battery technology, and is also working on the delivery of fuel cell evaluation kits to the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y.

"I am very pleased with the progress achieved by MTI Micro in the past few months with the completion of this second quarter milestone on the technical side and in connection with our efforts in the consumer market with the initiation of our alliance with Samsung Electronics," said Peng Lim, CEO of MTI Micro. "This progress certainly brings us a step closer to our ultimate goal—making Mobion a standard power source used for powering all types of mobile products in military, industrial, and consumer applications."

About MTI MicroFuel Cells
MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc., a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI), is the developer of the award-winning Mobion direct methanol micro fuel cell technology. MTI Micro has a world-class team of entrepreneurial business executives, researchers, and scientists; a number of system prototypes demonstrating size reductions and performance improvements; significant related intellectual property; and has received government awards and developed strategic partnerships to facilitate efforts to achieve commercialization. More information is available at the company's Web site.


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