Grid Scale

Armed Forces Look at Portable Methanol Fuel Cells

The defence departments in both Canada and the United States will have demonstration fuel cell units built in order to evaluate Direct Methanol Fuel Cell technology in several military applications.

OTTAWA, Ontario, CA, 2001-11-06 [SolarAccess.com] Energy Visions Inc. says the U.S. Department of Defence and Defence R&D Canada want to study its proprietory DMFC technology. Both departments have identified a need for long lasting portable power systems. One area of interest is a small portable power unit that can charge soldiers’ battery packs, because batteries are required to operate the numerous electronic devices that soldiers will be required to carry in future. The strategy is to have soldiers carry their energy in a dense liquid form and use small DMFC converters recharge the batteries as needed. The fuel cell is a very valuable tool that is ready today to perform service in many economically viable ways, explains Energy Visions president Wayne Hartford. Military applications will result in the market seeing fuel cells in a more realistic way, and these applications will demonstrate the immediate value of a methanol fuel cell, which is more available and easily produced than hydrogen units. The U.S. Army wants to obtain several thousand portable fuel cell systems starting in 2002.