Astris Energi Inc. (OTC BB: ASRNF), leading developers of alkaline fuel cells and related products, Wednesday announced that after two years of beta testing its TESTMASTER family of test loads, test cells and control software, it has introduced the new model, TL4A Test Load for fuel cells and batteries.

The TL4A Test Load has evolved from its model TL4, which was extensively tested and evaluated in five R&D laboratories in North America and Europe, according to Jiri K. Nor, president of Astris. It is an electronic load with microprocessor intelligence, that has the ability to operate under either manual or remote control and communicate with a computer over a serial link.

State-of-the-art features such as electrode and temperature sensor inputs satisfy the most demanding researchers, Nor said. Proprietary circuitry is used to measure the electromechanical potentials by means of the so-called "resistance free" method. This technique offers the researcher an additional insight into the inner workings of the fuel cell or battery and has become a valuable tool in making product improvements.

The new test loads were first deployed internally in Astris labs in Mississauga and in Benesov, the Czech Republic. For ease and simplicity of use, up to 32 loads may be daisy-chained on a single cable which carries both power and information. The powerful TESTMASTER program, which controls data acquisistion and graphical presentation, runs on a PC computer in the Windows environment.

"TESTMASTER and those new test loads save us a lot of time," said Senior Astris Engineer Joe Hasal. "I can't think how we could do without it, taking readings by hand -- with graphics and real-time display on screen, it is awesome."

"Sales of Astris demonstration fuel cells and related scientific products have been growing steadily," Nor said, "and we expect a further uptrend with the launch of this new product."