August 5, 2008
F9 Investments Acquires Proton Energy Systems, Hydrogen Technology Innovator, for $10.2 Million
Proton Energy Systems, Inc., a leader in renewable hydrogen technology for transportation, power generation, research and industrial applications, was acquired last week from Distributed Energy Systems Corp. (OTCBB: DESCQ) by F9 Investments, LLC.
F9, which represents the private equity interests of Tom Sullivan, paid $10.2 million for Proton, a renewable energy pioneer. Mr. Sullivan is the founder and chairman of Lumber Liquidators, Inc.
"With strong orders and a healthy backlog of business, F9's acquisition comes at a great time for our growing company," said Robert J. Friedland, Proton's president and chief executive officer, who helped found the fuel-cell-related enterprise in 1996. "Throughout our history," he said, "we have been leading the way in developing practical solutions for how to supply and use hydrogen to its best advantage in applications such as fueling hydrogen vehicles and cooling electric power plant generators to run more efficiently."
Mr. Friedland cited important customer commitments for industrial, defense and research projects, ranging from oxygen generation on-board naval vessels for U.S. and allied international military organizations, to larger capacity hydrogen fueling stations in conjunction with major energy companies and municipal governments, to on-site cooling systems that can enable power plants, such as those run by a half-dozen investor-owned utility customers, to produce more electricity from less fossil fuel.
"This is a great opportunity to put resources where our renewable energy beliefs are," said F9's Mr. Sullivan. "Hydrogen is clearly an important fuel of the future, and Proton's PEM (proton exchange membrane) technology works, can be scaled up to meet customer demand, and has captured a market share that already accounts for about half of all onsite hydrogen produced at hydrogen fueling stations in North America. As I look at it," Mr. Sullivan concluded, "that's a lot better than the fossil fuel costs, security and other risks associated with current practice, such as trucking bottled hydrogen into power plants that require it for cooling generation equipment."
Looking ahead, Proton's Mr. Friedland said, "This week we begin the next development and commercialization phase of our business, free of the constraints we encountered during the past few years as part of a struggling public company, and bolstered by the financial and other support we are fortunate to be receiving from Tom Sullivan. It enables us to continue to serve our customers, foster more cutting-edge R&D, and retain and attract the people we need to capitalize on our many exciting opportunities."
About Proton Energy Systems
Proton Energy Systems, Inc., designs and manufactures proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrochemical systems to make hydrogen from water in a zero pollution process, producing safe, pure, reliable on-site hydrogen to meet today's global industrial, commercial, defense and research requirements. For more information, please visit: www.protonenergy.com.