H Power Residential Fuel Cell Begins Testing In France

French national gas utility begins 5 month evaluation of residential cogeneration unit on research campus in Paris suburb.

Published: 28-Nov-2000

CLIFTON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 28, 2000--H Power Corp. (NASDAQ: HPOW), a leading fuel cell development company, today announced that Gaz de France, the French national gas utility, has installed an H Power residential cogeneration fuel cell system, powered by natural gas, in a model house and has begun a five month evaluation of the unit.

The house is located on Gaz de France's research and development campus in Saint-Denis La Plaine, a suburb of Paris.

During the initial testing period, any additional performance requirements and design modifications will be noted and used to design a next-generation unit, which will also undergo a multi-month test by Gaz de France.

H. Frank Gibbard, chief executive officer of H Power Corp., commented, "Gaz de France's test of our natural gas powered, residential cogeneration fuel cell system represents the first time such a unit has been tested in France. Currently, Energy Co-Opportunity, Inc. (ECO), an association of U.S. rural electric cooperatives, and Hydro-Quebec, a Canadian electrical utility, are performing tests on H Power residential fuel cell systems.

"We believe successful tests by Gaz de France will enable market penetration by H Power in France. Around the world, utilities are exploring ways to reduce production and transportation costs while anticipating increased demand for electricity. In some locations, the projected demand exceeds projected capacity.

"Our research also points to several current macro marketing trends favorable to fuel cell sales. These include the increasing requirements for continuous, reliable primary and backup electric power - particularly, in rural areas and developing countries; the continuing privatization and deregulation of utilities, which open the market for alternative power; and the mounting desire of utilities to avoid costly central generation, transmission, maintenance and distribution expenditures."

Gibbard pointed out that H Power's commercial proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system is intended to satisfy each of these trends, providing all the electricity and hot water needs of an average household with no toxic emissions and low noise. In addition, the unit will be able to operate independently of power grids and not be subject to power failures caused by storms or other electric utility interruptions.

About Gaz de France

Gaz de France is a major European gas utility and a worldwide producer of all types of natural gas and associated energy services. The company is involved in exploration, production, trading, transportation, storage and distribution of natural gas. Gaz de France is also an industry leader in liquid natural gas technologies, storage and distribution.

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