Hydra Fuel Cell Corp., the Beaverton-based company developing hydrogen fuel cell technology, on Wednesday said it has received its first patent and has begun production.

The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Houston-based American Security Resources Corp., filed seven patent applications in the summer of 2006.

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“This patent is for ‘the production of a single fuel cell’ and was central to the unique design we were developing,” Jim Twedt, Hydra Fuel Cell’s CEO, said in a news release. “We have advanced our fuel cell technology significantly since then, overcoming some daunting scientific, technical and engineering challenges in the process of bringing the most advanced, affordable and economical fuel cells to market.”

The company hopes to ship its first commercial fuel cells — which act as big batteries by turning hydrogen, a plentiful fuel source, into electricity — before the end of the year. It has a $21 million purchase order backlog.

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