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Protonex scraps plans for methanol-based RV fuel cell product

Protonex scraps plans for methanol-based RV fuel cell product

SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Advanced fuel cell systems developer Protonex Technology has scrapped the spring launch of its methanol-fueled M250-B product into the recreational vehicle market.

The group says it will concentrate resources on its propane-fueled P125-B system, which will target RV and other consumer markets.

Protonex says market research has indicated a strong preference toward propane for many consumer applications. The fuel is widely available, relatively inexpensive and integrated into many vehicles and locations.

It will continue to test-market the M250-B into other commercial and industrial applications, including back-up and remote power.

The company says its solid oxide (SOFC) platform has made strong technical progress in the last two quarters. Fully functional P125 units are operational, early tests have been very encouraging, and it is embarking on a final product design turn before launch.

Protonex wants to focus resources on fulfilling a recently-awarded $3.3 million contract from the US Department of Defense for refinement and production of its methanol-fueled M250-CX product. It says the military prefers methanol over propane for battlefield safety considerations.

The shift to the P125-B system has allowed it to reduce headcount, operating costs and cash burn by consolidating its product development efforts. As a result, the company’s annualized operating expense is expected to fall by around $2.4 million.

“Protonex is fortunate to possess a set of platforms that can operate on a wide range of fuels and provide our customers with highly-optimized solutions,” said President and CEO Scott Pearson.

‘We are now fully committed to what we see as one of our most promising opportunities – propane-fueled SOFC power solutions for the consumer markets.,” said Pearson. “We have been working toward this opportunity since purchasing Mesoscopic Devices and its SOFC technology in 2007.”

Protonex expects to begin placing beta P125-B units with customers and partners by November and is targeting a full product launch in the first quarter of 2011, ahead of the start of the RV season.

SOURCE: Protonex press release

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report.

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