NPS Furthers Fuel Cell Plans

July 21, 1999 by Jeff Shepard

Northwest Power Systems (NPS, Bend, OR) announced the purchase of a 3 kilowatt fuel cell system from DCH Technology (Valencia, CA). They plan to integrate it with their own patented fuel processor. This purchase is the most recent in a series made by NPS from fuel cell makers around the world, including DeNora S.p.A. of Milano, Italy, with whom NPS has a long term fuel cell supply agreement."Our objective is to test approximately 25 small scale experimental prototype fuel cell systems in the next 12 months and more than 150 in the next three years. We expect a dozen fuel cell manufacturers to participate in the program," said Alen Guggenheim, president of Northwest Power Systems.NPS's core technology is a patented fuel processor for generating pure hydrogen that a fuel cell needs to produce electricity. DCH Technology is manufacturing an integrated PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell system, incorporating an NPS fuel processor, designed to supply residential electricity. NPS already has their system, incorporating DeNora fuel cells, in a dozen northwest homes and businesses.The fuel cell systems, rated 2.5kW to 3.5kW, are aimed at stationary and portable applications. Their largest customers for prototype fuel processors and fully integrated fuel cell systems include the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA, Portland, OR), an agency of the US Department of Energy (DoE), and Sandia National Labs, a prime contractor for the DoE. BPA will field test NPS's fuel cell system under a long-term $3.5 million purchase order contract for delivery of 110 fuel cell units between 1999 and 2003.