Altair Creates Alternative Energy Group

New venture to develop improved fuel cell components which make direct use of hydrocarbons.

Published: 28-Nov-2000

CODY, Wyo., Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Altair International Inc. (Nasdaq: ALTI) today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Altair Technologies Inc. (www.altairtechnologies.com) has created an Alternative Energy Group. The group will be responsible for developing fuel conversion units for fuel cell power applications. Altair has also entered into an agreement with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (web.met.edu) to sponsor and carry on joint research aimed toward developing a nanostructured fuel cell system for direct hydrocarbon conversion. The group will also focus on nanoparticle applications in batteries, solar cells, and photovoltaics. Altair's Research to date indicates that Altair's nanoparticle technology has applications in many alternative energy markets.

Dr. Bruce Sabacky will head the group. Dr. Sabacky holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California Berkeley and has extensive experience in development of advanced materials for semiconductor applications and in compound semiconductor crystal growth. His expertise will be key in solving problems currently associated with manufacturing fuel cells.

There are many advantages to using fuel cells for power production -- they are clean, efficient, compact, operate quietly -- they can be placed in remote locations. Many unsolved problems remain, however. Remaining technical issues include -- expensive and fragile materials, uncertain long-term durability, manufacturing efficiencies, fuel processing, and control of chemical reactions at the cell electrodes. "Altair's objective is not to develop a new fuel cell design," said Dr. Sabacky. "Altair's goal is to produce and supply superior performing fuel cell components that address and overcome current technical shortcomings in today's fuel cell designs. We believe that coupling Altair's nanomaterial technology with MIT's expertise in catalysts gives a high probability for success."

The Altair business strategy is to become the preeminent supplier of the key component in a fuel cell power supply unit. We are not alone in our belief that this strategy holds the best economic opportunity. The following is a quote from April 2000, Distributed Energy Services, a Bear Stearns Equity Research Publication: "Investors who have embraced new technologies, especially early on, have sometimes enjoyed extraordinary results. What's interesting with respect to fuel cells and other forms of distributed power generation and distributed energy services are the parallels that exist between these market opportunities and those that existed in the telecommunications market. For instance, some of the most important investment opportunities in the telecommunications/Internet market were what we call the "plumbing" companies -- names like Cisco, Nortel, QUALCOMM, and Lucent Technologies. These companies did not focus on becoming suppliers to end users, they became suppliers/enablers to the network providers -- and they have proved to be among the biggest beneficiaries and the best investments. We can envision a similar phenomenon unfolding as a result of the revolution that is taking place in the power market ... it is also our opinion that investors will profit most by ultimately owning/playing the enabling technologies." Altair will soon be in a position to initiate discussions with strategic partners interested in applying the Altair fuel conversion units to produce fuel cells.

Altair International owns a proprietary technology for making nanocrystalline materials of unique quality, economically in large quantities. The company is currently developing special nanomaterials with potential applications in fuel cells, hard coatings, catalysts, cosmetics, paints, batteries, semi-conductors and telecommunications. The technology may also be used to make paint pigment at a cost forecast to be substantially lower than commercial technologies employed today.

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