Protonex Partners With Ensign Bickford Aerospace & Defense On Next-Generation Fuel Cell Power System

August 14, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

Protonex Technology Corp. announced that it has received a $301,000 subcontract from Ensign Bickford Aerospace & Defense (EBA&D), described as a global leader in energetic systems, to co-develop an advanced fuel cell power source. The goal of the overall program, awarded to EBA&D by the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC), is to develop a high-performance, 100W portable power supply for select military applications.

Under the terms of the subcontract, Protonex will provide a specially designed fuel cell system that will be joined with a fueling subsystem developed by EBA&D to produce what is described as an efficient, reliable, next- generation power source. The fueling subsystem designed by EBA&D will convert ammonia borane, a hydrogen-rich chemical compound, into hydrogen. The Protonex fuel cell system will then convert that hydrogen into electricity, which can be used by soldiers to power a variety of military devices and equipment.

The military has selected EBA&D and Protonex to develop this advanced power system to meet the need for a portable power source that can provide long-duration power without increasing soldiers’ logistical burden. Protonex states that it will leverage its ongoing work with the U.S. military on high-performance power sources for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other portable fuel cell systems to meet the aggressive milestones of this program.

"This subcontract is an important design win for Protonex," said Paul Osenar, Chief Technology Officer, Protonex. "EBA&D specifically chose Protonex as a partner for this effort based on the company’s existing military products and our ability to rapidly move forward toward fieldable product. We are looking forward to working closely with EBA&D to make this program a success."