BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – For this month’s Koffman Innovations segment, we’re featuring a startup that’s looking to harness the power of a common gas for small-scale uses.

ExoCell Power moved into the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator in Binghamton earlier this year.

Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder Matt Mayer began studying hydrogen fuel cells while a student a Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey with his menotr and co-founder Ronald Besser.

Together, they’ve developed a paper-thin fuel cell that can offer energy on demand for lightweight devices.
The small fuel cells can replace much heavier batteries where needed.

Co-Founder & CTO Matt Mayer says, “Small drones is our beach head market. That’s the market we’re going to initially go for. The battery life has a limited flight time of about 30 minutes due to the battery. So, we can extend that flight time up to 4 times with technology like this.”

Mayer says other applications could include military night vision goggles or portable robotics.

ExoCell uses an electrolyzer to pull hydrogen out of water and store it in a cartridge.

That cartridge then supplies the gas through a narrow tube to the 7 layer fuel cell which then interacts with the oxygen in the ambient air to produce both water and energy.

ExoCell is looking to patent its technology while building its first drone prototype in the hopes of signing contracts with drone manufacturers and securing investors.

Mayer says Binghamton is a great place to start and grow the company.

“We got state-of-the-art facilities over here, wet lab, but also the people are critical. We did an extensive search to identify where we wanted to move from the university to our independent space and Koffman Incubator was the clear choice.”

ExoCell was the recipient of an empowerST fellowship grant from the Koffman Incubator using funds supplied by NYSERDA.

In addition to covering salaries, research expenses and lab space, the program provides technical mentorship from Binghamton University Chemistry Professor and Nobel Prize winner Stan Whittingham.

Mayer says that once ExoCell is ready to bring its fuel cells to market, he hopes to manufacture the product here in Greater Binghamton.