Mechanical Technology Launches Micro Fuel Cell Initiative

MKTY hires Dr. Shimshon Gottesfeld as VP Research and Development of new micro fuel cell initiative.

Published: 04-Jan-2001

ALBANY, N.Y., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Mechanical Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MKTY) announced the launch of its efforts to develop and commercialize micro fuel cells.

"I am proud to announce that Dr. Shimshon Gottesfeld, a world leader in fuel cell research, will become chief technology officer and vice president of research and development for our micro fuel cell initiative," said Dr. William Acker, president of Mechanical Technology.

Acker also noted that Mechanical Technology has entered into an agreement to license direct methanol fuel cell technology from Los Alamos National Laboratory, a recognized leader in fuel cell research. The agreement gives the Company access to important core DMFC technology that will be used as a base to develop micro fuel cells for cell phones, digital organizers and other portable devices.

"Society is being transformed by these portable technologies, which give us the freedom to communicate almost instantaneously from almost anywhere," said George McNamee, chairman and chief executive officer of Mechanical Technology.

"This dramatic growth in portable electronics has fueled an equally dramatic increase in the need for portable power, a need we will move to fill with our micro fuel cells," said Mr. McNamee.

Micro fuel cells convert the chemical energy in a fuel to electrical energy. When developed commercially, the small power sources should provide the consumer with significantly longer use time as well as instant and easy refueling.

"Despite these advantages, scientists have faced some daunting technical challenges in trying to develop fuel cell technology," said Dr. Acker. "However, for more than 15 years, Dr. Gottesfeld has led the internationally recognized Fuel Cell Research Program at The Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he and his team worked to overcome many of these challenges."

"My colleagues and I have been advancing fundamental research on portable fuel cells, and this opportunity now allows me to play a critical role in the commercialization of this important technology," said Dr. Gottesfeld.

Dr. Gottesfeld, whose focus has been in electrochemistry, electrocatalysis and electrochemical power sources, has published more than 130 articles, written chapters for five books and holds seven patents in the field. In addition to his position at LANL, he was affiliated earlier with Brookhaven and Bell Laboratories. He has served as an officer and chairman of the Physical Electrochemistry Division of the Electrochemical Society, and in 1999 he was elected a Fellow by its Board of Directors. In the same year, he was also selected as a Laboratory Fellow at LANL. Dr. Gottesfeld received his Ph.D. from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

"Shimshon Gottesfeld has an international reputation as a scientist and a technical team leader. We believe his leadership and the quality of the team we are assembling to commercialize micro fuel cells, will position us to capitalize on the opportunities within this immense market," said James Bunch, vice president of business development for the Company.

As part of its new energy strategy, Mechanical Technology has holdings in Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG), a fuel cell company it formed in 1997 as a joint venture with Detroit Edison (NYSE: DTE); SatCon Technology Corporation (Nasdaq: SATCON), which manufactures power and energy management systems, and Beacon Power Corporation (Nasdaq: BCON), which develops flywheel energy storage systems.

The Company's subsidiary, MTI Instruments, is a manufacturer in the field of non-contact, precision diagnostic and sensing instruments.

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