MTI Micro Mobion fuel-cell manages 2,700hrs continuous use

MTI Micro have been putting their Mobion fuel cell through it's paces, in testing intended to demonstrate just how much improved the technology is over current Li-Ion power packs.  A lab test version of the fuel-cell lasted 2,700 hours of continuous use, with further tests suggesting power degradation of less than 15-percent. 

To put that into context, Li-Ion batteries can lose up to 50-percent of their capacity over two years.  That means more frequent recharge cycles and shorter usage time, or alternatively a premature replacement.

MTI Micro are quoting average cellphone user times of 3,000 included minutes per month, which adds up to 1,200 hours over a typical two-year contract.  Assuming standby was far less demanding of power, the Mobion pack would be able to run that without needing a refuel.  Of course, actual use will likely differ significantly from test conditions, but it looks as though fuel cells are finally coming of age.

Press Release:

MTI Micro Demonstrates Industry Breakthrough in Fuel Cell Life Test

ALBANY, N.Y. –(Business Wire)– Jul. 11, 2008 MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. ("MTI Micro"), the developer of Mobion(R) off-the-grid portable power solutions and a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology, Incorporated ("MTI") (NASDAQ: MKTY), today announced that it has achieved 2,700 hours of continuous operation with a Mobion(R) laboratory cell – the building block of the Company's Mobion(R) chip and systems. In comparison, a typical cell phone plan in the U.S., marketed to moderate to heavy users, includes 3,000 minutes per month which, over the life of a typical 2 year contract, translates to only 1,200 hours of use.

In an industry report published by the Journal of Power Sources, tests conducted on direct methanol micro fuel cells show degradation of up to 35% after only 360 hours of operation. In addition to the 2,700 hours of continuous run-time, our Mobion(R) test, which is still ongoing, successfully demonstrated a significant achievement by showing power degradation of less than 15% – which we believe is a breakthrough for the micro fuel cell industry.

"Our test results are a clear indication of the technical progress we have made on performance metrics including life, degradation, temperature, and humidity levels which are required to bring products to market in the consumer electronics industry. To our knowledge, there are no other published results that match ours," said Jim Prueitt, Vice President of Engineering and Operations at MTI Micro. "With these results, we believe we continue to be a leader in the micro fuel cell industry as we work toward the commercialization of our Mobion(R) power sources."

According to Frost and Sullivan, the average power degradation in a lithium ion battery can be approximately 50% of their charging capacity after two years. As most cell phone users notice after a short time of ownership, the battery in their phone does not hold a charge like it did when it was new. They must recharge their phones more and more often and be more conscious of saving power.

"In less than a year, we have been chosen by three consumer electronic OEMs who are striving to meet the needs of consumers who want a longer lasting and more reliable power source," said Peng Lim, Chairman and CEO of MTI. "We believe these results show our technological leadership and our future ability to help OEMs meet those needs with our Mobion(R) technology."

With these latest test results, MTI Micro is also in line with targets set by the Department of Energy in a recent funding opportunity announcement which required fuel cells under 50 Watts to have a life test of at least 2000 hours.

MTI Micro's strategy is to provide Mobion(R) portable power products for use in the multi-billion dollar consumer electronics industry for applications including cell phones, digital cameras, PDAs, MP3 players and other handheld electronic devices. The Company's Mobion(R), 100% methanol feed, passive DMFC technology has been demonstrated in fully-functional prototypes and concept models in three primary product directions: external cord-free rechargeable power packs, attached fuel cell power sources and embedded micro fuel cell designs.

About MTI MicroFuel Cells

MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. ("MTI Micro"), a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology, Incorporated (NASDAQ: MKTY), is the developer of Mobion(R) 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