Monday, 21 February 2011

Ultra Electronics acquires portable fuel cell manufacturer Adaptive Materials

U.K.-based Ultra Electronics Holdings has acquired Adaptive Materials, a Michigan-based solid oxide fuel cell developer for $23 million. According to an Adaptive Materials press release, the company will continue to develop and manufacture propane-powered fuel cell systems.

Adaptive Materials designs and manufactures portable fuel cells in the 50-300 W range. Its solid oxide fuel cells run on propane. The company says that propane fuel cells can deliver nine times the energy density of conventional batteries.

2010 appeared to be a good year for Adaptive Materials. Back in March the company won $3 million in new funding through Michigan’s Centers of Energy Excellence Program. In September they were awarded a $750,000 contract to manufacture energy software for the battlefield and received $2.5 million in DARPA funding for portable fuel cells for the U.S. Army. The Army then awarded them $12 million for fuel cell research in November.

Ultra Electronics and Adaptive Materials seems to be a good fit. Ultra Electronics is also a defense company, also focusing on aerospace applications. If things go as planned, Ultra Electronics will offer an additional $5 million to the sale of Adaptive Materials. Certain performance-based measures must be achieved by December 13, 2013 for that bonus to qualify. Lucky number 13?

As a side note, Ultra Electronics says it will keep everyone currently employed at Adaptive, and still hopes to fill the 10 employment positions that Adaptive has open.

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