FCT Successfully Operates Deep-Sea Fuel Cell System

May 14, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Fuel Cell Technologies Corp. (FCT, Canada) has passed another milestone in the development of its high-endurance energy system that will power the Atlantic Layer Tracking Experiment (ALTEX) Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) under the Arctic ice cap. The FCT system powered the ALTEX AUV for more than 78 hours off the coast of California, completing numerous missions down to depths of 120 meters. Its fuel cell system is designed to provide uninterrupted power to the AUV for all of its operating systems and propulsion for up to 200 hours of operation at nominal 300W output. The company reports that all of the system's objectives were either met or exceeded.

“The fuel cell system performed admirably during the last week of sea trials," said Tom Konvalina, FCT's ALTEX project leader. “Not only was the system extremely responsive at the designed loads, but it also delivered 200 percent of its power rating for a brief period, as well as delivering 150 percent for a 20-minute run. We were very satisfied with how well the system performed."