Astris Energi's Progress in Alkaline Fuel Cells Featured in Scientific American Report

Company developing small, residential-sized fuel cells.

Published: 29-Nov-2000

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Canada--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 29, 2000-- Astris Energi Inc.'s leadership in development of alkaline fuel cell power systems for small vehicles, individual homes and for portable applications in the field, is featured in the current issue of Scientific American's monthly "Fuel Cell Industry Report."

The pioneering role played by Astris Energi (OTC:ASRF) and Jiri K. Nor, its founder and president, in pursuing the alkaline fuel cell concept to commercialization is recounted and demonstrated by a review of the company's present projects.

After making its first laboratory fuel cells in 1988, Astris developed three generations of these small units, boosting their power density five-fold and making numerous other engineering advances in the process, the article reports.

Building on that long experience, Astris has now developed alkaline fuel cell (AFC) systems for three different markets, the report says:

1. A one-kilowatt portable electric generator that can be carried

by one person, is quiet and can be operated indoors.

2. A two-to-three kilowatt AFC to power the many types of small

vehicles -- golf carts, airport ramp, in-plant delivery,

retirement community and other similar movers.

3. A four-kilowatt system to provide electricity, heat and hot

water for individual homes which Nor says is "a good precursor

for residential power."

All three of these systems were developed primarily at Astris S.R.O., the company's affiliate in the Czech Republic, which has delievered the first portable units to the Czech military and the home-sized unit to another agency of the government there.

The Scientific American Report also quotes Nor in highlighting the significant advantages of alkaline fuel cells over the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) concept being developed by numerous other companies, most of which are working to develop systems for the eventual auto-truck-bus market.

"AFCs have more than proven their robustness, excellent electrochemical efficiency, ambient-temperature quick start operation, low maintenance due to few moving parts and long life," according to Nor. (AFCs are used in all American and Russian manned space vehicles to supply electricity, heat and pure water.)

PEMs require the use of expensive platinum as a catalyst, while AFCs can use a broad range of electrocatalyst making them inherently less costly to produce, Nor told the report editors, adding that AFCs also can operate at subzero temperatures with instant startup, which PEM systems cannot.

According to the report, Astris is currently in discussions with possible strategic partners which could affect the application areas on which the company will focus its near-term commercial efforts

NOTE: Any statements contained in this release that are not statements of fact may be considered "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined under the U.S. federal security laws. Forward-looking statements are only predictions and may differ materially from actual events or results.

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