Lightening the Military Load using Fuel Cells

Millennium Cell has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) contract by the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) to assess the feasibility of operating Millennium Cell’s hydrogen battery technology in conjunction with a 5 kW PEM-based fuel cell using water containing a variety of impurities.

The program will benefit a wide range of military applications for Millennium Cell’s technology, ranging from larger auxiliary power systems to small portable systems. The results of this work will help the military determine the best option for re-fueling and distributing hydrogen batteries deployed in remote locations or extreme situations. “We welcome the U.S. Army’s increased involvement in funding the development of our hydrogen battery technology,” commented H. David Ramm, Millennium Cell Chief Executive Officer. “This new program will provide useful information that can help broaden the application of our technology in military markets.” Preliminary tests conducted by Millennium Cell suggest salt water and other non-potable water may be adequate for use with its Hydrogen on Demand technology. The ability to ship dry sodium borohydride fuel, which can be mixed with local water at point of use, would result in a significant reduction in weight to be handled by the military’s supply chain. In October, the U.S. Army joined the U.S. Air Force in supporting the development of Protonex Technology Corporation’s 30-watt portable soldier power system (P2) that incorporates the company’s fuel technology. Together, Protonex and Millennium Cell recently demonstrated this field-test ready system at the Fuel Cell Seminar and highlighted the weight and cost benefits of the P2 over incumbent batteries used for soldier power. This work complements the company’s efforts to further reduce the weight burden on soldiers who carry about 30 pounds of batteries for a 72-hour mission. The P2 system weighs about 12 pounds and delivers the same amount of energy. The ability to carry dry fuel cartridges for the P2 would reduce the soldier’s power source burden to less than 6 pounds for a 72-hour mission.
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