The three products we offer are the PowerChip, a silicon based fuel cell product targeted for defense and commercial customers, the second product is the BuzzBar Suite that is targeted at consumers for cell phone and tablet charging, and the final product is the Formira product, which is an air based fuel cell technology that generates hydrogen for formic acid and that can be used for larger power ranges.
Using Fuel Cells in Unique Product Applications
Chris D’Couto | Neah Power Systems
Tell us about Neah Power Systems: How are you creating and changing the way alternative energy is used?
Neah has more than $55M invested into the Company and we are seeing the fruit of those investments in the three product offerings that we have. Our products are covered by various patents and pending patent applications. We serve the < 1 W to 5kW markets. The three products we offer are the PowerChip, a silicon based fuel cell product targeted for defense and commercial customers, the second product is the BuzzBar Suite that is targeted at consumers for cell phone and tablet charging, and the final product is the Formira product, which is an air based fuel cell technology that generates hydrogen for formic acid and that can be used for larger power ranges, that can be used to generate hydrogen for automotive fuel cells and grid scale fuel cells.
How has Neah Power created breakthrough solutions?
The PowerChip product uses a patented award winning silicon based fuel cell solution that has consistently demonstrated more than 2.5X the power density and 5 – 10 times the lifetime of the next best alternative, either PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cells or lithium ion batteries. This is the ONLY fuel cell that can operate anaerobically (without air) and uses older (5 – 10 generation old) computer chip equipment for manufacturing. The non-air operation uniquely meets the needs of defense and commercial entities whom we are currently serving. Most recent customer announcement was a shipment to the Government of India.
The BuzzBar suite is a one of a kind system, with pending patent applications, that allows consumers to charge their cell phones and tablets using wall/grid power, solar, fuel cell, or AA and AAA batteries. This is targeted at off the grid consumer use and has generated a lot of interest in fast developing countries as well as developed countries, especially for off-the-grid power.
The Formira product is covered by two pending patent applications and is a unique way of generating hydrogen on demand for automotive and off-grid power solutions. This addresses two of the largest concerns with automotive fuel cells which are the use of compressed hydrogen in cars which is a safety question, and the lack of infrastructure for re-fueling with hydrogen. We believe the Formira product addresses these two areas of concern.
Which alternative energy technologies are used in your products?
We use a silicon based fuel cell technology in the PowerChip product, leveraging the established manufacturing, safety, handling, and re-cycling capabilities demonstrated by the Computer chip industry. The BuzzBar suite (BuzzCell) incorporates a direct Formic Acid fuel cell for consumer products, and finally the Formira product uses a PEM fuel cell, along with the Formic Acid reformer technology for larger scale fuel cells.
What is unique about your products? What markets do you target?
For uniqueness, see above. The PowerChip is targeted at defense and commercial entities, and our most recent customer, the DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization) of the Government of India is a typical customer. We have also submitted jointly with a large Fortune 150 defense contractor in the US for defense funding. Coincidently, our first shipment of this product was to this Fortune 150 defense supplier.
How does the system work and why is it so well suited to Military and First Responders?
The PowerChip product is well suited for applications where the quality of air is unpredictable, or where air is not available. Think diesel contaminated areas, underwater applications, smoke filled environments, etc. The PowerChip technology, with the non-air breathing capability was funded by the US Navy as part of our overall productization.
Tell us about the team at the Company?
We have a lean, core-competency based team at Neah Power Systems, when you include the Board and the management team. The CEO, Dr. D’Couto, is a 17 year silicon valley veteran, with new product introduction, sales, and business development experience. Dr. D’Couto has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. Mr. Schmidt, who serves on the Board and is the acting CFO for the Company, is a former senior executive from Honeywell. On the Board, we have a former partner of Accenture and McKinsey, Mr. Jeff Sakaguchi serving as the Chairman of the Board.
What can we expect to see from Neah in the next 12 months?
We look forward to vibrant launch of the BuzzBar Suite of products which are being sold directly to consumers, continued adoption of the PowerCHip to various defense and commercial entities, and the Formira product showing up in drone and other off-grid sensor products.
Dr. Chris D'Couto
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. D'Couto brings more than fifteen years of sales, marketing and product development experience to Neah Power. In his previous roles of increasing responsibility at Intel Corporation, Novellus Systems and FormFactor Inc. he was responsible for the introduction of new disruptive products that are critical to the success of these companies. Dr. D’Couto is the primary author of various patents, has published extensively in peer reviewed journals, and has been the invited keynote speaker at various forums. He has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Clarkson University, NY, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.
The content & opinions in this article are the authorâ€™s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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