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20 April, 2006 - 11:33 By Staff Reporter

New joint venture to bring CMR’s portable fuel cells closer to market

CMR Fuel Cells’ share price shot up over 12 per cent on the news that it has signed an important collaborative deal with major European chemicals firm, Solvay SA.

CMR Fuel Cells’ share price shot up over 12 per cent on the news that it has signed an important collaborative deal with major European chemicals firm, Solvay SA.

The agreement is aimed at reducing the size of Cambridge-based CMR’s fuel cell stacks in preparation for its assault on the portable power industry.

Through a non-exclusive joint development collaboration, Belgium-headed Solvay will work on the production of high performance porous membranes for use in CMR’s unique high power density ‘compact mixed-reactant’ fuel cell stacks.

The collaboration will work to develop porous electrolyte membranes that eliminate the requirement for bulky, inactive components found in traditional fuel cells such as flow field plates and other balance of plant components.

By developing stacks in this way, CMR is seeking to exploit its patented ‘mixed reactant flow-through’ architecture to mass produce fuel cells capable of delivering the high power densities required to produce a commercially viable power delivery system with the potential to replace traditional lithium ion batteries.

CMR’s share price rose 26 pence to 242.5 pence a share. The use of porous membranes is a world first for the fuel cell industry and is protected by CMR’s core intellectual property.

Léopold Demiddeleer, Solvay’s director of Corporate R & D and New Business development, said: “At Solvay we recognise the commercial potential of CMR’s unique fuel cell architecture and look forward to working closely with the company to accelerate the delivery of an optimised fuel cell product to the electronics industry.”

CMR chief executive, John Halfpenny, said: “We anticipate Solvay’s combination of world-class resources and unrivalled experience will significantly accelerate us towards our goal of delivering low cost, long running fuel cells to the portable power industry.”

CMR technology massively reduces the size of fuel cell stacks, leaving more room for fuel and enabling dramatically longer run times in portable power systems. Unlike conventional fuel cells which rely on the complete separation of reactants, its revolutionary design works by flowing a mix of air and fuel through a porous stack that can make use of low-cost catalysts.

This approach eliminates up to 90 per cent of the volume, and, as the reactants are mixed, the membrane no longer needs to physically separate them so can be much thinner, lighter and consequently cheaper.

Solvay SA is listed on the Euronext Stock Exchange and has annual sales of over Euros 8.6 billion, employs 30,000 people in 50 countries and has spent in excess of Euros 1.4 bn on R & D in the past two years.

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