A company called Energy Conversion Devices was formed in 1960, but they didn't really become well known until the mid 1980s when a unit of the company called Ovonic Batteries came into being. Ovonic gained some prominence in the late '80s for their developments in nickel-metal hydride batteries. These batteries were a huge advance over the conventional lead acid batteries that are typically used in cars. Many of the major car-makers went to Ovonic for batteries to power the electric vehicles they were developing in advance of the abortive California zero emission vehicle regulations. After Bob Stempel was bounced from the CEO position at General Motors he landed at Ovonic, first as a consultant and now as the chairman and CEO. Ovonic eventually supplied batteries for the Chrysler's electric minivans and the General Motors EV1.

Today the company is known as ECD Ovonics and one of their main development areas is on hydrogen storage systems. They have a solid metal hydride hydrogen storage tank system that they are demonstrating in a some Toyota Priuses. The Prius has been equipped with a turbocharger to provide performance comparable to the gasoline powered version when operating on hydrogen. The Prius and the solid hydrogen storage system were displayed at the companies booth at the SAW congress last spring.

ECD Ovonics James R. Metzger, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and Sanjeev Kumar, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer will be making a presentation at the Jefferies & Company, Inc.'s European Alternative Energy & Cleantech Conference on October 17, 2006, being held in London, U.K. The company will be providing a live webcast of the presentation, and the presentation material, will be accessible through ECD Ovonics' website. There is no mention of what will be discussed but a followup report will be available afterward if anything new is revealed.

[Source: ECD Ovonics]

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