Canada Buys New Fuelcell System for Deepsea Divers

A company from Albuquerque, Fuelcell Technologies, has been awarded a Cdn$277,000 contract to deliver a pre-production fuel cell system to keep deep sea divers warm.

OTTAWA, Ontario, CA, 2001-09-21 [] In March, FCT successfully developed and demonstrated the Diver Heating prototype fuel cell as the latest in underwater energy systems. The integrated, small-scale co-generation fuel cell system will deliver both thermal and electrical energy to divers underwater during periods of decompression. Existing systems require boilers or large batteries on the surface, with pipes or cables down to decompression depths where divers must sometimes stay for hours. The FCT system will be a self- contained unit that will be lowered to the decompression depth where divers will connect to the unit and stay warm during decompression. Because the system recovers both the electrical and the thermal output of the aluminum energy fuel cell, the overall energy density is equivalent to expensive silver-zinc batteries, at a fraction of the cost. “Not only is the Aluminum Energy technology well suited for portable underwater applications, but it is equally suited for other portable applications requiring high energy densities,” says FCT program manager Mike Adams. “We have already taken another step toward commercialization of this technology by developing an air-breathing version of the system.” The contract was awarded by the Canadian Department of National Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine.
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