PEEI’s Proven Tubular SOFC Technology to Expand WATT’s System Power Range, Market Application Capabilities
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., April 24, 2014 – WATT Fuel Cell Corp. (WATT), a developer and manufacturer of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) components and systems, announced today its purchase of Mt. Pleasant, Penn.-based tubular SOFC developer Pittsburgh Electric Engines, Inc. (PEEI). The acquisition agreement, finalized on April 17, made PEEI a wholly owned subsidiary of WATT and facilitates combining both companies’ fuel cell technologies and personnel into a single entity.
“PEEI has a longstanding reputation in the industry, most notably for its 15 plus years of testing and technology development of tubular fuel cell solutions for the transportation and mobile power markets,” said Dr. Caine Finnerty, president and CEO of WATT Fuel Cell Corp. “With more than 37,000 hours of run time on its technology, PEEI has clearly established the legitimacy of tubular fuel cells in commercial applications. When combined with the technology already available at WATT, the larger tubular cell format developed by PEEI will substantially widen the scope of addressable markets.”
“With the merging of PEEI and WATT, we are excited to see our technology able to be scaled to commercial deployment in the marketplace,” said Owen Taylor, president of PEEI. “WATT has developed a cutting-edge manufacturing process that can also be applied to PEEI’s larger-scale tubular technology, making it accessible and affordable in a way that was not previously possible.”
According to Taylor, the agreement between PEEI and WATT further solidifies the fuel cell industry’s place among other advanced and alternative energy solutions being looked toward as an answer to more stringent energy efficiency goals and greater energy independence. Using readily available fuels such as natural gas and propane in a more efficient and environmentally responsible fashion, the implementation of fuel cells is anticipated to lead to greater energy cost control, and ultimately more energy independence, for the everyday consumer.
“With the escalating urgency around energy efficiency, the marketplace is demanding ‘now’ solutions, not just those theoretically possible in the future,” Taylor said. “In that respect, this merger is literally groundbreaking, as it automatically broadens the spectrum of near-term fuel cell system solutions in the sub-50 kilowatt range.”
“Cost and reliability have long been barriers to entry for commercially viable fuel cell systems, particularly in relation to costs associated with manufacturing at scale,” said Dr. Finnerty. “WATT’s advanced manufacturing process has already proven to be more cost-effective, while providing higher quality, more reliable and higher-power-output finished parts. Implementing our manufacturing techniques with the PEEI technology could potentially reduce manufacturing costs by as much as 75 percent, and, if we observe the same trends we have seen during the scale-up of WATT’s core cell technology, we could also see up to a 30-percent increase in power output.”
According to Finnerty, PEEI’s more than 37,000 hours of technology testing, combined with in excess of 23,000 hours of testing on WATT’s balance-of-plant (BoP) technology, facilitates the company’s strong position as it transitions in to larger systems, which will be designed for applications including residential power and smaller-scale distributed generation. WATT additionally remains a leader in development and use of SOFCs that operate on readily available energy sources, such as propane, natural gas and various other liquid and renewable fuels. WATT’s products provide efficient, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy solutions for a range of applications in the portable power and distributed-generation energy markets.