Modine Manufacturing Company (NASDAQ:MODI) and XCELLSIS announced today the signing of an exclusive cooperation agreement that focuses on Modine’s development and manufacturing of components for fuel-cell engines in buses, cars, and trucks.
XCELLSIS is a joint venture of DaimlerChrysler, Ballard Power Systems, and Ford Motor Co. with the mission to develop, manufacture, and commercialize fuel-cell engines as the world-leading supplier to original-equipment manufacturers. Modine is an independent, worldwide leader in heat-transfer and heat-storage technology serving vehicular, industrial, commercial, and building-HVAC (heating, ventilating, air-conditioning) markets.
Fuel-cell-engines — consisting of a fuel cell and the subsystems required to provide fuel, air, coolant, and process control — are considered by many experts to be the next generation of efficient and environmentally clean engines for the world’s transportation fleet. The first market introduction of vehicles with fuel-cell engines is expected to occur by 2004.
“Fuel-cell engine technology is still progressing in big technological steps where many disciplines such as process engineering, chemistry, heat transfer, special manufacturing skills, etc. have to be optimized in a novel approach,” said Dr. Gunther Dietrich, Sr. Vice President, Development, Engineering, & Manufacturing, XCELLSIS. “Under the arrangement, Modine, using its excellent knowledge in solving thermal-management problems, will work together with XCELLSIS and its partners to bring fuel-cell engines to the marketplace.”
“Modine has entered the fuel-cell area by intelligently applying its thermal-systems expertise to this technology,” said Donald Johnson, Modine’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Fuel-cells are expected to have tremendous environmental and global impact, and Modine will be an important player in making the technology viable in the automotive marketplace.”
Fuel cells, which have been used in spacecraft since 1965, use the chemical reaction of hydrogen — as part of a hydrogen-rich fuel gas — and oxygen from the surrounding air to directly produce electrical energy. If the fuel cell is powered directly with hydrogen, it produces no emissions and the only waste product is water.
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Plans call for Modine to cooperatively develop and provide several critical components that offer an optimum solution to the problems of thermal processes and fluid dynamics. This requirement involves simultaneously solving other problems such as dynamic behavior, phase transitions, special material requirements, and new manufacturing technology. Modine’s components will be part of highly integrated, compact, fuel-cell engines for the world’s mobile applications, which will be introduced to the marketplace for cars within five years.
“For our engineers to be able to work and contribute to what is being considered an energy revolution is an exciting opportunity for this company,” said Tony DeVuono, Modine’s Vice President, Technical Services. “Modine was selected as a development partner with XCELLSIS because we developed and delivered the right thermal- and fluid-management solutions combined with the right material and manufacturing expertise at the right time.”
Industry experts say that fuel-cell engines could eventually bring about the demise of today’s internal combustion engines, offering superior potentials in efficiency and emission reduction.
On May 24, Modine announced the formation of a Fuel-Cell Products Group to focus on this new technology and to assist in bringing about the commercialization of the fuel-cell engine.
Modine has annual sales of more than $1 billion and has about 8,300 employees worldwide. Modine can be found on the Internet at www.modine.com. Inquiries about Modine’s fuel-cell activities can be directed to 888-636-8627, a toll-free telephone number.