March 29 - April 5, 2004

Alaska tests of FCT solid oxide fuel cell demonstrate unit'slong operating life, reliability

FCT's 5 kW solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), currently being tested in Alaska, has been performing very satisfactorily since last August, the company reported recently.

The system, being tested in collaboration with the University of Alaska (UAF) and Fairbanks Natural Gas, generates AC power at an electrical efficiency of approximately 40%. It has achieved a reliability level of 100% over the last 4,320 hours and the unit is still operating with no detectable evidence of deterioration so far. FCT said it is pleased at both the longevity of the unit's operation and its ability to handle interruptions in the Alaska electricity grid.

"Since the biggest questions surrounding fuel cells have been longevity and reliability, this is an exciting achievement in fuel cell technology and testing," Dennis Witmer, director of the UAF's Arctic Energy Technology Development Laboratory said in a statement.

FCT views the remote marketplace as a substantial early-day opportunity. "We estimate that there are in excess of 600,000 sites in remote parts of Canada where power is generated off-grid. The grid-tie and grid-independent operation of this 5 kW SOFC confirms for FCT the opportunity to sell units into this large market," said FCT president Dr John Stannard.

"The next phase of testing will involve utilizing a variety of fuel choices, such as propane and methanol which are important in areas where power is required from other than the conventional grid," he added.

Based in Kingston, Ont, FCT develops small-scale power systems (1 kW to 50 kW) for on-site generation of electricity. Itss SOFC power units are designed to operate on any one of several readily available fuels to provide electricity and heat for stationary applications such as small commercial enterprises, industrial facilities and homes, as well as remote sites.

More information is available from J Christopher McFarlane, chief financial officer, 613/541-6125, E-mail cmcfarlane@fct.ca.

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