Mt. Pleasant Township corporation promotes new product
WATT Fuel Cell Corp. of Mt. Pleasant Township anticipates a busy summer in 2016 with the launch of a new, hybrid fuel cell system used to provide power to boats and RVs, according to Caine Finnerty, the entity's president and chief executive officer.
That is when the corporation projects the system will ready for distribution, he said.
“We are looking to have our rollout in early 2016,” Finnerty said.
A prototype of the system is now debuting at RV, outdoor, trade and sailboat shows, including the U.S. Sailboat Show recently in Annapolis, Md., he said.
“What we have been showing is a sort of an Alpha prototype,” Finnerty said.
Technology instills excitement
Founded in 2010, with locations at the former Lenox Crystal plant in the township and Hampton Bays, N.Y., WATT Fuel Cell Corp. is a clean-tech company that fabricates materials, components and sub-assemblies to support solid oxide fuel cell technology.
Its new product is “quiet and cool to the touch, and it's easy to pick up, weighing only about 20 pounds,” Finnerty said.
“It sounds like a laptop running, and nothing like a traditional generator. This unit is essentially quiet, and that is what has people excited,” he added.
Corporation takes prototype on tour
Finnerty said corporation officials recently took the prototype to various shows to explain the product and gather consumer opinion of the unit, which has been positive.
“It's been absolutely crazy,” Finnerty said. “It's always interesting to introduce something new. We show up with the units and hope that they like it, and right now, the biggest feedback is that people are excited about how quiet it is.”
Once launched, the new fuel cells will make it easier for recreational users to enjoy trips and outdoor experiences, he said.
Finnerty added the cells offer a quieter and more reliable way to generate power that lasts longer.
“With efficiencies up to three times greater than that of a typical generator, boaters and RV users using the WATT Fuel Cell System can feel confident that electric loads won't leave them stranded,” he said.
Those who invest in RV, motorboats, sailboats and other outdoor recreational vehicles have an interest to protect in their investments, and a new way to keep them powered is proving to be of great interest, Finnerty said.
Show provides stage for product
At the U.S. Sailboat Show, the corporation's fuel cell prototype was temporarily installed on the Impossible Dream, a 60-foot sailing catamaran.
The WATT system successfully powered the craft's on-board electronics and charged its battery bank.
“The Impossible Dream is on a quest to find the most innovative products to make her as accessible and efficient as possible,” said Harry Horgan, Impossible Dream president.
“When we first heard about the WATT system and its ability to charge our batteries, people said it wasn't possible. The WATT team made it possible,” he said.
Summer sales are anticipated
WATT director of corporate services Sarah DeWald said the corporation is anticipating the sale of the fuel cell to the public.
“We are excited and looking forward to the summer,” she said.
Finnerty said the corporation is using feedback from consumers to gauge the interest, and he feels that, once launched, the new fuel cells could be a must have for many who enjoy the outdoors in a safe, reliable and quiet manner.
“We are trying to make them as flexible as possible,” Finnerty said. “They are solid and quiet. When you are out on a boat or in an RV, the last thing that you want to hear is the roaring sound of a generator.”
In addition to recreational usage, the fuel cells could also prove beneficial for use in the military, Finnerty said, and WATT hopes to make an announcement soon on interest shown in the fuel cell in that field.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.