Metallic Power teams with Nextel to evaluate fuel cell backup power for cellular infrastructure

CARLSBAD, Calif., March 21, 2002 — Metallic Power, a developer of zero-emission, regenerative zinc/air fuel cells, announced that it has signed a memo of understanding with Nextel Communications Inc. to conduct extensive testing and evaluation of Metallic Power’s fuels cells as a backup power source for Nextel cellular base stations.

“We are pleased that Nextel has selected our technology for in-depth evaluation,” said Dr. Jeffrey Colborn, chief executive officer of Metallic Power. Because Metallic Power addresses the need for a cost-effective, low-maintenance means of providing many hours of backup time with a high tolerance for environmental extremes, manageable weight and zero emissions for indoor/outdoor operation, we will be able to offer a more flexible alternative for backup power where generators aren’t practical or where replacement of lead-acid batteries is desired.”

According to Barry J. West, Nextel’s executive vice president and chief information officer, “Metallic Power proposes a unique concept for cell site backup operation with their zinc/air technology. Nextel is eager to explore how this technology may serve to help ensure maximum performance for our customers.”

The devices to be evaluated will offer 2.5kW of backup power in a convenient rack-mounted configuration that includes a 6kWh fuel tank to provide two-to-three hours of continuous backup under full load. Based on the company’s exclusive regenerative zinc/air fuel cell technology, the systems comprise a fuel cell stack, a fuel tank containing zinc pellets suspended in a liquid electrolyte, and a built-in regeneration module.

They use zinc pellets combined with oxygen to produce electricity and a byproduct of zinc-oxide (a common substance often used in sunscreen and cosmetics) that is then internally regenerated back into fresh zinc fuel that can be recycled indefinitely in this manner. To approximate real-world operating conditions, Nextel will provide a radio base station site that will use the Metallic Power backup system to assure uninterrupted operation.

The firms will conduct testing and evaluation of the cell site at Metallic Power’s Carlsbad, Calif. facilities. Initial applications for this technology will include providing backup power to cell sites and telecommunications equipment terminals as well as their critical HVAC systems where generators cannot be used because of noise, emissions or refueling issues; or where lead-acid batteries are impractical because of temperature extremes, weight restrictions or environmental concerns.

By providing power to cooling devices (HVAC) during power outages, telecommunications equipment will not shut down prematurely because of the excessive heat rise that occurs without such backup. Operators can then get the full benefit of the batteries currently in place for telecom equipment, reducing customer dissatisfaction and continuing critical services during emergences.

About Metallic Power
Metallic Power Inc., founded in 1995 and based in Carlsbad, Calif. near San Diego, is the leader in developing regenerative zinc/air fuel cell-based products. These power sources will use recyclable zinc fuel to provide emission-free electricity for a variety of applications in the 2kW to 10kW power range requiring two to eight hours of operation beginning with extended backup power for telecommunications, networking and HVAC with future developments to include portable power, peak shaving, auxiliary power for vehicles and transportation.

Compared to other fuel cell technologies, Metallic Power does not require a high pressure or high temperature operating environment and because it uses zinc fuel, one of the Earth’s most abundant elements. It also does not require the use of costly fuel reformers. Because of the system’s fundamental simplicity, its developers believe that it will offer a safer, more cost-effective approach to renewable energy. For more information, visit

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