Fuel Cells Help the U.S. Military Meet its Power Needs
November 3, 2004
Fuel cells of all sizes are now helping to meet the power needs of the U.S. military. The Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, for instance, is now using a 5-kilowatt fuel cell to provide power and hot water to its fire station. The military is also exploring the use of fuel cells to power its vehicles: Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. recently provided a 10-kilowatt fuel cell to the U.S. Army's National Automotive Center (NAC), which has incorporated it into a vehicle called the "Quantum AMV" (Alternative Mobility Vehicle). Nicknamed the "Aggressor," the vehicle features "far superior acceleration" compared to traditional all-terrain vehicles, can also operate in a virtually silent "stealth" mode, and can serve as a portable generator in the field. See the announcements from the U.S. Air Force and Quantum and visit the NAC Web site.
On a smaller scale, IdaTech unveiled on November 1st a portable methanol-powered fuel cell system to be delivered to the Army to recharge batteries in the field. The lunchbox-size prototype produces 150 watts of power, although the system delivered to the Army will generate 250 watts. IdaTech plans to offer the system commercially. A similar energy source is under development by MTI MicroFuel Cells, which is under contract with the Army and the U.S. Marine Corps to develop methanol-powered fuel cells for field operations. The devices provide twice the energy of batteries in the same amount of space. The company will deliver five fuel cell devices to Army Special Operations Forces within the next 10 months. See the press releases from IdaTech and MTI MicroFuel Cells.