Carlsbad-based Metallic Power is looking to power a fleet of vehicles with the fuel of the future , zinc. And now they have backing.
Metallic Power, the leading developer of rapidly refuelable zinc/air fuel cells, recently announced that it closed its second round of venture capital funding, with $4 million in new investments and two new corporate investors. Hydro-Qu & #233;bec Capitech and Minnesota Power join current investors Nth Power and Arete Corp., each investing $1 million in Metallic Power.
“Adding Hydro-Qu & #233;bec Capitech and Minnesota Power to our growing list of investors will give Metallic Power the resources it needs to take the technology to the next level,” said Dr. Jeff Colborn, president of Metallic Power. “This enables us to rapidly move our product development forward and prepare us for the testing of 50 customer evaluation units at the end of this year.”
In its first round of venture capital funding, Metallic Power received $1 million from both Nth Power and Arete Corp.
Metallic Power’s fuel cell system can power forklifts and other mechanized equipment by using zinc air fuel cells and a zinc recycling unit. The fuel cell generates electricity when it combines tiny pellets of zinc with oxygen from the air in the presence of an electrolyte, forming zinc oxide, a safe white powder commonly used in skin creams and sunblock.
The recycling unit uses wall electricity to convert the zinc oxide back into fresh zinc, which is then recombined with the electrolyte to be reused as fresh “fuel.” Compared to electric vehicles powered by traditional batteries, Metallic Power’s zinc/air fuel cell system can reduce operating costs dramatically, down to about the same cost as gasoline-powered equipment, Colborn said.
Zinc/air fuel cells offer up to 10 times the energy per weight and 10 times the energy per volume compared to battery-operated vehicles. Compared to internal combustion engines, zinc/air fuel cells have no emissions and are very quiet, he said.
Bob Edwards, executive vice president of Minnesota Power, said new technologies will play a major role in the nation’s future energy supply.
“Fuel cell technology has significant potential benefits for shareholders and consumers,” he said.
For more information, visit the Web site at (www.metallicpower.com).