DTI, Ballard, Caltech & USC Enter DMFC Agreement

August 05, 1999 by Jeff Shepard

DTI Energy Inc. (Los Angeles) announced it has entered into a licensing agreement with Ballard Power Systems Inc. (Vancouver, BC), as well as with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Southern California (USC). The agreement covers Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) intellectual property rights to which DTI Energy holds the exclusive license. The underlying DMFC technology was developed jointly by Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and USC's Loker Hydrocarbon Institute. DTI holds the exclusive licensing rights to the subject DMFC patents and intellectual property. The licensing agreement is intended to create new avenues toward commercialization of the DMFC technology.In the DMFC, methanol is fed directly into a proton exchange membrane fuel cell as the fuel, rather than passing first through a fuel processor, or reformer, in which the methanol is converted into a hydrogen-containing fuel stream. The DMFC emits no pollutants and its only byproducts are pure water and carbon dioxide."We beilieve the DMFC is a revolutionary advance in fuel cell technology that has unlimited commercial potential as a power source for a wide range of products," stated DTI Energy President Todd Marsh. "The applications range from battery replacement in consumer electronics to electric automobiles and stationary and portable electric power generators."Under the agreement, Ballard has been licensed on a worldwide, non-exclusive basis to further develop the technology, and will have the right to sublicense the DMFC to its "alliance" members, including DaimlerChrysler and Ford Motor Co. Caltech and USC are authorized by the agreement to develop a new domestic company to commercialize and manufacture DMFCs.DTI plans to continue to expand its licensing program to other major manufacturers and developers to allow for full commercialization of the DMFC in a wide variety of applications. "We are confident that this deal, and others to follow, will advance DMFC toward the marketplace and contribute both to a cleaner environment and a stronger economy."