Protonex Technology Corp. (Southborough, MA), a developer of fuel cell power solutions for portable and remote applications, announced that it has been selected for a contract award by the US Army Research Office (ARO) to accelerate development of a 30 W soldier power system (SPS). The ARO joins the Air Force Research Laboratory in funding the program, which began under a two-year, Dual Use Science and Technology (DUST) program awarded in April 2004. The ARO contract will drive advanced fuel cartridge design and manufacturing to achieve delivery of complete power systems in early 2006. Protonex will continue to work in close partnership with Millennium Cell Inc., a developer of hydrogen battery technology, as a subcontractor on the program.
The 30 W SPS combines fuel cell and chemical hydride fueling subsystems to deliver continuous power for electronic devices. The system’s design and high energy density make it suited to meet the demands of military applications. To date, work under the DUST program has focused on development of the overall Protonex fuel cell system and initial integration of Millennium Cell’s Hydrogen on Demand® chemical hydride fueling technology. The program will now target productization of the chemical hydride fueling cartridge in preparation for field trials.
Progress under the DUST program has produced two prototypes of the soldier power system. The first system (P1) was delivered to the Air Force in March 2005, and was recently tested at Team Patriot, an exercise hosted by the US Air Force to demonstrate advanced military technologies. The second system (P2) will be demonstrated later this year and delivered to the US Department of Defense in early 2006 for comprehensive evaluation and field testing.
"We are encouraged by the broadening interest of the Department of Defense in this product as a result of our successful P1 system delivery," commented Protonex CEO Scott Pearson. "Protonex and Millennium Cell continue to work well together as we move toward productization, and we look forward to soon demonstrating this system publicly."