Fuel cell maker ReliOn raises more cash

Spokane fuel cell developer ReliOn Inc. announced Tuesday it’s raised $6 million from a number of previous investors.

That cash will accelerate U.S. sales and expand international marketing and sales of its hydrogen fuel cells.

The company’s electricity-producing products can be installed indoors or outdoors and used by telecom companies, large corporations and government agencies.

A press release Tuesday said the company saw a tripling of sales and gross profits as a percentage of sales during 2010 compared with 2009, but ReliOn doesn’t release its sales or profit figures, said spokeswoman Sandra Saathoff. It also is not releasing the total investments in the company to date.

In 2008 the company announced it was raising $23 million from investors PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund, LLC of La Jolla, Calif.; and Robeco Clean Tech Private Equity of Rotterdam, Netherlands.

 Earlier investors included Oak Investment Partners, Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, Wall Street Technology Partners, Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, Buerk Dale Victor, and ReliOn’s former parent corporation, Avista Corp., the Spokane-based energy utility.

Company CEO Gary Flood noted in a press release that the funding will help ReliOn continue efforts to become “the first profitable fuel cell company.”

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