BASF is investing in UltraCell Corporation. UltraCell develops and manufactures complete micro fuel cell systems for portable devices such as satellite phones, radios and laptop computers, which require long runtimes away from the power grid.
UltraCell has raised $10.3 million in its Series C financing round, of which BASF Venture Capital has provided $3 million. UltraCell will use proceeds from the financing round to ramp up production, expand worldwide sales and marketing, and for the development of next-generation products.
UltraCell was founded in 2002 and has currently 45 employees. Its fuel cell system uses a pioneering micro reformer, which generates hydrogen from methanol. This reformed methanol system can yield, with the same cell size, twice the power of comparable lithium batteries. For example, a laptop powered by an UltraCell fuel cell can run two to three times longer than a laptop powered by a conventional battery, thus providing more convenience for outdoor use.
“We are delighted to be investing in UltraCell, a company with exciting growth prospects. According to industry expectations, the global fuel cell market will grow from €1 billion in 2010 to €21.5 billion in 2020,” said Keith Gillard, Principal at BASF Venture Capital America.
BASF Future Business GmbH, the parent company of BASF Venture Capital, recently acquired Frankfurt-based PEMEAS GmbH - a leading supplier of fuel cell components. The acquisition and the investment in UltraCell, who is a major customer of PEMEAS, highlights BASF’s commitment to strengthen its activities in the field of energy management.
Energy management is one of five growth clusters, in which the world’s leading chemical company is developing new technologies and materials for energy storage and energy conversion, as well as for alternative energy capture. The four other growth clusters are raw material change, nanotechnology, white (industrial) biotechnology and plant biotechnology. A total of approximately €850 million has been earmarked for research activities in the five growth clusters for the period from 2006 to 2008, of which approximately €90 million will be spent on energy management.
http://www.basf.com and http://www.ultracellpower.com