VIASPACE Press Release
VIASPACE CEO Outlines the Billion Dollar Profit Potential for Fuel Cell Cartridges
PASADENA, CA - May 28, 2008-VIASPACE Inc. (OTCBB: VSPC) today provided a brief overview of both fuel cells as well as the business model for fuel cell cartridges which VIASPACE's subsidiary, Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Corporation ("DMFCC"), is pursuing. VIASPACE and DMFCC CEO, Dr. Carl Kukkonen, states, "Fuel cartridges are the consumable in the fuel cell business. Fuel cells are like a razor with fuel cartridges as the razor blades. VIASPACE and DMFCC are helping to build a new industry that, while it does not exist today, has the potential to produce tens of billions of dollars in revenue over the next five years. "
"If the large portable electronic OEMs are successful in developing fuel cell powered portable electronics, five to 10 billion cartridges per year could be sold with potential profits exceeding $1 billion per year. There are plenty of risks, but the potential profits are huge."
An overview of both fuel cells and the cartridges business model is outlined below.
1. Fuel cells are electrochemical engines that produce electricity directly from the fuel without burning. Electricity is made very efficiently and fuel cells are a green technology
2. The first market for fuel cells is likely to be in portable electronics. Compared to batteries, fuel cells enable a longer device operating time in addition to instant recharging, by replacing the disposable fuel cartridge without the need for an electrical plug and several hours to recharge. The convenience and increased productivity of new power-hungry portable electronic devices such as smart phones currently drives the market.
3. Direct methanol fuel cells seem to represent the fuel cell of choice by most portable electronics manufacturers. Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Hitachi, Panasonic and other large OEMs have already demonstrated that notebook computers, mobile phones and other devices can be powered by direct methanol fuel cells. In fact, we believe that they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to develop fuel cells and the products that use them.
4. International safety regulations developed by Underwriters Laboratories and the Japanese Electric Manufacturers Association have specified that a fuel must be contained in a safe, sealed and preferably disposable container called a cartridge. DMFCC is a member of these international committees.
5. With these safety regulations, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the US Department of Transportation have recently allowed direct methanol fuel cells and cartridges to be carried on airplanes by passengers and aircrew. This is a major breakthrough.
6. According to industry sources, there were 100 million notebook computers and 1.1 billion mobile phones produced worldwide in 2007, and these figures are projected to rise to 160 million notebooks and 1.8 billion mobile phones in about five years. If the OEMs succeed in their product offerings, it is projected that up to 22% of notebook computers and 2.5% of mobile phones will be powered by fuel cells in about five years. This leads to a projection of 91 million fuel cell powered devices sold. Independently, Frost and Sullivan have projected that 71 million fuel cell powered portable electronic devices will likely be sold in 2011. OEMs are currently spending hundreds of millions of dollars to try and capture this large new market.
7. Each notebook computer and mobile phone powered by a fuel cell is projected to use between two and four cartridges per month over its three-year lifetime. If the OEMs are successful, this level of cartridge usage amounts to five to 10 billion cartridges per year, approximately five years from introduction. This is the market that DMFCC is pursuing.
8. While specific cartridge pricing has not yet been determined, cartridges are projected to sell for between $3.00 and $5.00 each, and the overall cartridge industry could be worth as much as $15 billion to $30 billion per year at the retail level. Consequently, cartridge manufacturing and distribution profits could be in the billions of dollars per year. That is why DMFCC is in the cartridge business.
9. DMFCC has an established global network of qualified cartridge manufacturing partners that are already trusted suppliers to many OEMs. DMFCC is already working with Samsung and other companies on cartridges.
10. The OEMs want to sell notebook computers and mobile phones and, while most do not want to manufacture and sell cartridges, they do want cartridges to be widely available. DMFCC's investment cost in the cartridge business is much lower than the costs being expended by OEMs on developing the fuel cells. DMFCC's manufacturing partners are also sharing in the cartridge development costs.
11. In addition to providing cartridges, DMFCC also has the patents on direct methanol fuel cells that most OEMs will need to bring their DMFC products to market. DMFCC has stated that they are willing to provide this patent protection to the OEMs in exchange for a cartridge supply agreement. This is another incentive for OEMs to work directly with DMFCC.
12. DMFCC is, nonetheless, dependent on the OEMs' success in bringing fuel cell powered portable electronics to the marketplace. In order to benefit from their success, DMFCC must be willing to take these risks together with the OEMs.
About VIASPACE: Originally founded in 1998 with the objective of transforming proven space and defense technologies from NASA and the Department of Defense into hardware and software solutions that solve today's complex problems, VIASPACE benefits from important patent and software licenses from Caltech, which manages NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, please visit our website at www.VIASPACE.com, or contact for Investor Relations, Dr. Jan Vandersande, Director of Communications at 800-517-8050, or IR@VIASPACE.com.
Press contact: Carl Kukkonen 626-768-3360
This news release includes forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements relate to future events or our future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Such factors include the risks outlined in our periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-KSB, for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2007, as well as general economic and business conditions, the ability to acquire and develop specific projects and technologies, the ability to fund operations, changes in consumer and business consumption habits, and other factors over which VIASPACE has little or no control.