Intermec and MTI Are Developing Fuel Cell-Powered Mobile Computing Systems

Intermec Technologies Corp. has signed a strategic commercial partnership with MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. (MTI Micro), a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology Inc., to develop micro fuel cell systems for Intermec rugged handheld mobile computers and peripherals, the companies recently announced.

As part of the joint development and supply agreement executed in December, MTI Micro and Intermec will integrate MTI Micro’s proprietary direct methanol micro fuel cell power system into future Intermec mobile computing equipment. Intermec plans to first offer MTI Micro’s system with a product targeted for launch in 2004, as well as explore additional product opportunities.

A direct methanol micro fuel cell creates power through the chemical reaction of methanol fuel -- a common alcohol with a high energy density -- in the presence of a catalyst. MTI Micro is developing proprietary integrated micro fuel cell power systems for future use that can be re-powered instantly and can allow small computing devices to work away from a power outlet for significantly longer than they can today.

"In the increasingly mobile, wireless environments that we serve, we believe our customers will highly value the instant re-powering, reduced weight and longer operating time we expect to achieve by using MTI Micro's breakthrough micro fuel cell system," said Arvin Danielson, Intermec vice president, research and development.

"Our approach is to build strong partnerships with recognized technology leaders in their respective markets, and Intermec is a pioneer in mobile data collection solutions for industries around the world," said Dr. William Acker, MTI Micro president and chief executive officer. "This partnership with Intermec achieves a key business development milestone for MTI Micro. It begins to move our DMFC power systems into high-growth commercial markets and is consistent with our multigenerational product plan.”

"Intermec is known for product innovation using new technologies it believes will benefit its customers,” said Alan Soucy, MTI Micro chief operating officer. "This deserved reputation for both quality and technological leadership makes Intermec a strong partner for our first commercial product release."

When fully commercialized, direct methanol micro fuel cells are expected to provide an improved power source for future multi-billion dollar global markets in mobile phones, laptops, digital organizers, convergence devices and other portable electronics.

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