Reliant Energy Signs Technology Agreement with Texas A&M

July 04, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

Reliant Energy (Houston, TX) signed a licensing agreement on June 28, with the Texas A&M University System granting the company exclusive rights to develop and market important improvements in proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology.The new technology was developed by the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), a state research agency and an A&M System member. The agreement grants Reliant Energy the exclusive right to assess and develop the technology's commercial potential for a variety of applications including distributed generation, portable power and transportation.The fuel cell developed by the Center for Electrochemical Systems and hydrogen Research, a TEES division, has several unique features that may provide a cost advantage by allowing it to be mass-produced. The cell, invented by center director Dr. A. John Appleby, is designed to use common and previously overlooked materials in the manufacturing process and to operate at low temperatures and pressures. The TEES' design will allow units to range in size from 7.5kW, which is the capacity needed to power the average home in the Houston area, to 150kW, which would power light commercial and industrial customers."Reliant Energy is very enthusiastic about the potential for the TEES fuel cell technology to provide a new source of electrical power that is economical," said Robert W. Harvey, Reliant Energy vice chairman. "PEM fuel cells are an exciting technology and we believe that the innovations of the TEES research team will make them commercially viable for a broader range of applications."