Astris Energi Tests and Delivers the Model E4B Home Fuel Cell System

April 18, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

Astris Energy Inc. (Toronto, Canada) announced that its European subsidiary has completed, tested and delivered a 4kW AFC generator to the Technical University of Mines, Ostrava, Czech Republic. The generator was built and tested by Astris' laboratory in Benesov, Czech Republic. The system is the first of a future line of fuel cell cogeneration units. The Model E4B produces heat and electricity for homes using gaseous hydrogen fuel combined with oxygen from the air to produce 4kW of electrical power.

Prior to the completion of the home fuel cell system, Astris announced that it has internally generated all the funds needed for its current program to produce a commercial fuel-cell-driven golf cart as a further example of the system's capabilities. The project is expected to be completed in a year, with production taking place in Astris' Czech Republic facility.

"In this mode," said Astris President, Jiri Nor about home fuel cell power systems, "nearly 100 percent of the energy contained in the fuel is used, whereas in conventional power generation by electric utilities, more than 60 percent of the total energy is lost by the time the electricity is delivered to the home."

The Model E4B is compact, measuring only 48" x 56" x 30". The compact power source stems from a joint project of Astris' devoted to developing and testing novel, environmentally friendly and clean, benign energy systems. Astris is also interested in pursuing the use of methanol as an alternative source of hydrogen fuel for the system.

"With a suitable reformer," said Radek Kotoucek, project manager at Astris, "we can feed the AFC with hydrocarbon fuel such as natural gas or with liquid methanol."