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MTI Micro Files Its 110th Patent Application and Demonstrates 5500 Hours of Operation
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Key patents and technology advances to support product commercialization for consumer applications in 2009
Albany, NY -- MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. ("MTI Micro"), the developer of Mobion® off-the-grid portable power solutions and a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology, Incorporated ("MTI") (Nasdaq: MKTY), today announced that it has achieved 5,500 hours of continuous operation with a Mobion® laboratory cell – the building block of the Company’s Mobion® chip and systems.
According to industry standards, the average power degradation in a typical lithium ion battery is as high as 50% after only 500 charging cycles. Mobion fuel cell technology achieved over 5500 hours of operation with only 30% degradation. When implemented in a Mobion charger, these cells could recharge an average cellular phone battery 2000 cycles.
In addition to the ongoing power performance improvements, MTI Micro filed its 110th patent application with the United States Patent Trademark Office and has developed a significant intellectual property portfolio in strategic areas of development and has solved fundamental hurdles key to the commercialization of DMFCs including:
The company has been granted 49 of those patents including the allowance from the US Patent and Trademark Office for key patent applications upon which work continues relating to the design and development of the Mobion® chip – the Direct Feed of Concentrated Fuel Under Passive Water Management and the Simplified Direct Oxidation Fuel Cell System. These key patents along with others pending make it possible to operate the chips without the need for fuel recirculation or water retrieval and pumping – two issues that have always complicated the development of DMFCs and made it difficult to reduce its size.
MTI Micro recently filed a patent to increase the useful life of the fuel cell by improving the efficiency of the Mobion Chip, and the optimization of the fuel delivery system. In an industry report published by the Journal of Power Sources, tests conducted on other direct methanol micro fuel cells show degradation of up to 35% after only 360 hours of operation. In contrast, MTI Micro’s results prove operation of up to 5500 hours with less degradation.
The Company has filed patent applications on a fuel delivery system that increases the amount of energy that can be extracted from methanol. In addition, the system uses a unique and efficient method to push methanol into the cell using about 1/100 of the energy that a normal pump would use and is much smaller so size reductions and performance gains can be realized.
Environmental Range of Use
MTI Micro’s patent applications also include a method that allows its fuel cells to operate in similar temperature and humidity conditions specified for consumer electronics products which solves a key issue faced by all other micro fuel cell companies.
Cartridge design and standard inter-connect system
MTI Micro has also filed patents with new orientation independent cartridge designs and a proprietary cartridge-to-fuel cell standard interface which connects both fuel cell and cartridge with a safe and elegant engineering design.
MTI Micro has been granted 49 applications and has also filed 25 international patent applications in a number of different countries including Japan, China, and Korea.
"Our test results are a clear indication of the technical breakthrough we have made on performance metrics including life, degradation, temperature and humidity operation, and other important metrics required to bring products to market in the consumer electronics industry," said Jim Prueitt, Vice President of Engineering and Operations at MTI Micro. "With these results and the breath and depth of our patent portfolio, we believe we continue to be a leader in the micro fuel cell industry as we move forward in our product development process."
This announcement follows the U.S. DOT decision that now permits passenger and crew to carry methanol fuel cell cartridges and fuel cell systems designed for portable electronic devices on board airplanes in carry-on baggage since October of 2008. This DOT approval is in line with MTI Micro’s plans to launch a product by the end of 2009 and pursue the consumer market with target applications which include hand-held communication, and other power-hungry portable electronic devices that can benefit from Mobion® extended run-time, cord-free rechargeable power packs with continuous access to power anytime, anywhere.
"As more consumer electronic companies choose DMFC solutions and the micro fuel cell industry moves towards commercialization of this technology, we believe our pioneering and potentially blocking patent work will become extremely valuable and provide a significant competitive advantage for MTI Micro," said Peng Lim, Chairman and CEO of MTI. "We believe that our micro fuel cell technology will make a significant impact on the mobile power industry in consumer electronics.
About MTI MicroFuel Cells
MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. ("MTI Micro"), a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology, Incorporated (Nasdaq: MKTY), is the developer of Mobion® off-the-grid portable power solutions. MTI Micro has a team of entrepreneurial business executives, researchers and scientists; a proprietary direct methanol micro fuel cell power system and a number of system prototypes demonstrating size reductions and performance improvements; and related intellectual property. MTI Micro has received government funding and developed strategic partnerships to facilitate efforts to achieve commercialization. More information is available at www.mtimicrofuelcells.com.
Statements in this press release which are not historical fact including statements regarding management’s intentions, hopes, goals, beliefs, expectations, projections, plans, anticipation, outlook or predictions of the future are forward looking statements. Such statements include, among others, statements related to the present or future value of MTI Micro’s intellectual property portfolio; the value of any one, or any combination of MTI Micro’s patents, or patent applications; MTI Micro’s ability to identify and protect important intellectual property; MTI’s ability to utilize its intellectual property portfolio for commercial gain; future prospects and applications for MTI Micro’s fuel cell systems, including commercial applications; MTI Micro’s future business prospects, technology and performance and the extent to which it is protected by its intellectual property; MTI Micro’s future business prospects, technology and performance; the market potential for and progress MTI Micro is making in developing its Mobion® fuel cell systems for consumer applications, and the future prospects, markets, product launch, market acceptance, and commercialization plans of MTI Micro products in the consumer markets. All forward-looking statements are made as of today, and MTI and MTI Micro disclaims any duty to update such statements. It is important to note that MTI Micro’s and MTI’s actual results could differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause the anticipated results not to occur include, among others, risks related to financing; uncertainties in development, manufacturing and competition; and the risk factors listed from time to time in MTI’s SEC reports including but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.
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