Protonex to Provide Mobile Warfare Fuel Cells to AFRL

May 06, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

Protonex Technology Corp. (Southborough, MA), a developer of fuel cell power solutions for portable and remote applications, received a $2.6 million award from the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to further the development of a power solution for individual soldiers on extended field missions.

The technology is built on Protonex's NGen Portable Power System, a durable, compact and lightweight power source that combines a PEM fuel cell power generation system with a chemical hydride hydrogen storage system. The contract was awarded under the Dual Use Science and Technology Program established by the National Defense Authorization, which promotes the development of dual-use technologies with application both in the military and commercial sectors. Initiatives are evaluated based on their viability and potential product transition from military use into commercial markets.

Protonex has been working with the military since 2000 to develop long-duration power solutions for portable applications; and is in the process of commercializing a family of products in the power range of 10 W to 1,000 W. A soldier on a three-day mission, for example, would need to carry nearly 30 lbs of batteries to equal the power of one Protonex portable fuel cell system, which weighs less than 5 lbs with fuel.