Tubular Fuel Cell System Tested for Residential Consumer Use by NIST

Acumentrics submitted a system to be tested by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The purpose is to develop metrics and measures for home use of fuel cells.

WESTWOOD, Mass., June 7, 2007 - Acumentrics Corporation, a leading developer of solid oxide fuel cells and winner of a 2007 New England Innovation Award, announced today that they have submitted a 5 kW fuel cell generator to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD. The aim of the NIST Residential Fuel cell Test Facility is "to determine the seasonal performance of residential fuel cell systems for the development of a consumer-oriented performance rating." NIST is part of the US Department of Commerce.


"NIST provides a critical service to American consumers," said Gary Simon, Acumentrics' CEO. "We are looking forward to their feedback, because it is unbiased. And I know our team has developed a safe system, not only in terms of people and buildings, but also the environment."

NIST is responsible for developing rating methodologies for many consumer appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators. NIST is using the Acumentrics generator, among others, to help develop a proposed standard for rating the performance of residential fuel cells. They have also evaluated polymer fuel cell technology. Acumentrics believes that its tubular ceramics will be most compatible with home use because they offer electric load following and fuel flexibility.

"As fuel cell manufacturers continue to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of fuel cell technology, the feasibility of residential fuel cells draws closer," said Mark Davis, the principal investigator of NIST's Residential Fuel Cell Test Facility. "NIST strongly believes that widespread adoption of residential fuel cells will suffer without a means for future consumers to evaluate the costs and benefits of the technology in terms with which they are familiar."

Because Acumentrics' ceramic fuel-cell tubes operate at high temperature, they accept hydrocarbons such as propane, natural gas, and biogas directly, and disassociate the fuel inside the cell via in-situ reformation. The result is a more elegant system which does not require extra fuel pre-processing equipment. It also has twice the efficiency of a traditional generator set. Acumentrics' fuel cells can also operate on hydrogen, but customers are attracted to the compatibility with logistical, affordable fuels.

Information about NIST's program can be found at http://www.bfrl.nist.gov/863/heat_transfer_group/fuelcell.htm

Acumentrics has fielded over thirty fuel cell systems, and is also participating in the US Department of Energy's SECA program.

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