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3M, Plug Power sign supply agreement for GenSys fuel cell units for India

The US-based companies 3M and Plug Power have entered into an exclusive commercial supply agreement, for 3M membrane-electrode assemblies (MEAs) to be used as a critical component in Plug Power’s GenSys® proton-exchange membrane (PEM) reformate stacks. The continuous-run GenSys prime power fuel cell systems are being deployed into rural India, and will replace diesel generators at remote telecoms sites.

The design of the Plug Power GenSys reformate stack allows end-users to realize the economic and environmental benefits of fuel cells, while avoiding the logistics involved in transporting pure hydrogen to their remote cell sites. GenSys reforms liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) into a hydrogen-rich reformate, which is supplied to the fuel cell stack.

In May, WTTIL, the cell tower arm of Tata Teleservices Ltd, placed an order for 200 GenSys units to provide power at cell towers with no or extremely unreliable grid service. The initial 200 GenSys systems will be installed by the end of March 2010, and the company expects to install some 1000 systems by the end of 2010. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd will provide LPG fuel for the initial 200 installations, and last month entered into a five-year fuel supply agreement with Plug Power.

‘Plug Power understands the importance of meeting our customers’ needs,’ says Mark Sperry, general manager of Plug Power’s Continuous Power Division. ‘And, the best way to do that is to provide them with the most reliable and lowest-cost alternative energy solution in the market. 3M is a key partner in achieving this goal, as we are able to leverage its industry-leading membrane technology.’

‘3M is delighted to be the MEA supplier for this exciting opportunity,’ says Dr Eric Funkenbusch, program director of the 3M Fuel Cell Components Program. ‘Plug Power and 3M have collaborated closely for many years, and 3M has supplied MEAs for many of the Plug Power systems in field deployment.’

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