Public Release: 

Generics group spinout takes aim for Christmas list

ISC-Intelligence in Science

The Generics Group spinout, CMR Fuel Cells Ltd, announces it's seeking admission to the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange ('AIM'). A move that compounds the success of their radical fuel cell technology, which enables delivery of low-cost, long run-time power solutions that today's portable electronic products demand.

CMR's revolutionary fuel cell stack is being developed for use in applications such as battery chargers, auxiliary power units, laptops, power tools, robotic devices, portable generators, and portable military applications. The breakthrough technology is 5X cheaper to make than conventional DMFC*, 10X smaller than current designs and offers much greater levels of reliability - delivering longer operational life. Michael Priestnall and Michael Evans, joint founders of CMR Fuel Cells Ltd (CMR) with an impressive 20 years of fuel cell experience, invented the new platform design for a fuel cell stack, the compact mixed-reactant fuel cell, during an impromptu, creative brainstorming session at The Generics Group in 1999.

Based at the international HQ in Cambridge, the two realised that the little-known mixed-reactant or 'single-chamber' fuel cell, a laboratory curiosity since the 1950s, could be modified to enable up to an eighty per cent reduction in stack cost. CMR's novel approach to fuel cell design and architecture is radically different to anything else that exists today and solves many issues that have stifled commercial development so far.

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert fuel (e.g. hydrogen, methanol, methane) directly into electricity at higher efficiency than internal combustion engines, and have the potential for higher-power storage capacity than lithium-ion batteries. Fuel cells have the potential to become the dominant technology for many applications. Driven by the dream of cheaper, cleaner and more sustainable electric power, fuel cells sit on the cusp of a multi-billion dollar global market.

The patented technology is based around a revolutionary approach, contrary to conventional methodologies, the fuel and air are mixed together prior to being passed through a uniquely compact cell stack containing perforated membranes coated with selective catalysts. In doing this, CMR's technology eliminates the need for two separate flow paths through fuel cell stack, consequently leading to a large reduction in the number of component pieces needed in fuel cell design, lowering the cost and size which makes the architecture ideal for mass manufacture and widespread commercialisation.

Since spinning out of Generics, CMR has successfully raised further funding support from a number of institutions including, among others, Carbon Trust Investments, Conduit Ventures and Herald Ventures. Following the completion of the last round of funding, Generics holds circa 16% of the issued share capital of CMR.

In 2004, John Halfpenny, serial entrepreneur (ex ARM and Splashpower) was appointed as CEO to steer the CMR ship towards a float. Since Halfpenny joined the company has grown, and this year, has enjoyed immense success;

  • Winner 2005 Carbon Trust Overall Innovator of the year award
  • Winner 2005 Carbon Trust Individual and Small Businesses award
  • Selected by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer for 2006
  • Selected by Harvard Business School as one of 25 companies 'most likely to change our world by 2010'
  • Selected as a Red Herring Top 100 Europe company - (previous Red Herring winners include Google and ebay)

Martin Frost, Managing Director of The Generics Group comments: "The progress CMR has made since formation has already been recognised in the many prestigious awards bestowed on the company over the last 12 months. I am delighted that the team now have the opportunity to raise the profile of their technology and secure a public listing and the further funds needed to enable them to accelerate the development of their technology to shape the emerging fuel cell industry as a whole."

He continues: "Generics is organised to innovate, and we encourage entrepreneurship in all of our employees. Each time employees' ideas are realised, it is very rewarding for all involved and acts as a stamp approval on Generics business model which balances fee-based work with IP venturing. CMR's technology is as compelling as it is unique and I am confident that as they apply further funds and develop their ongoing commercial relationships they will be able to produce what will be viewed as a fundamental enabling technology base for the commercialisation of fuel cells on a global basis."

CMR has appointed Investec Investment Banking and Securities as Nominated advisor and Broker to the company. In conjunction with its admission to AIM the company is seeking to raise £8million by way of a placing of new ordinary shares which will fund the expansion of its research and development program and accelerate the commercialisation of its technology.


For more information please contact:

Emma Drake
Public Relations Manager
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 875 535

Martin Frost, Managing Director
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 875 200
Mobile: +44 (0) 7795 101 779

Notes for Editors:
*Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
The Generics Group

The Generics Group is a leading integrated technology consulting, development and investment organisation, with an international reputation for successfully commercialising emerging science and technology.

Generics develops technologies that underpin the future of the widest range of industries. Its key areas of expertise include: engineering, materials, telecommunications, life sciences, business innovation and electronics.

Generics' facilities include state-of-the-art laboratories and are located in Europe in Cambridge, Frankfurt, and Stockholm; in Boston and Baltimore in the USA and in Hong Kong. Generics is quoted on the LSE (GEN.L)

CMR Fuel Cells Ltd

CMR Fuel Cells Limited is a UK developer of fuel cell stacks for portable and small stationary power generation applications. The company intends to become a leading supplier of fuel cell technology and products, based on its simple but revolutionary stack architecture and through its relationships with other key organisations.

Fuel cells (FC) are electrochemical devices that convert fuel (e.g. hydrogen, methanol, methane) directly into electricity at higher efficiency than internal combustion engines and have the potential for higher power storage capacity than lithium-ion batteries. Fuel cells have the potential to become the dominant technology for automotive engines, power stations and the power packs for portable electronics.

CMR is a radical new fuel cell stack technology that has the promise of unlocking this enormous market potential. CMR's patented design architecture aims to make fuel cells 10 times smaller and more powerful and up to 80% cheaper than competing products, thereby overcoming the key hurdles delaying mass-market global sales.

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