AKRON, Ohio, 16 March 2011. Lockheed Martin and Technology Management Inc. (TMI) engineers have, for the first time, operated a fuel cell generator for 1,000 hours using JP-8 military standard fuel. The milestone is thought to pave the way for fielding fuel cell generators in theater, providing a more efficient, safe, and affordable method to convert expensive fuel into electricity. Fuel cell generators can reduce fuel consumption by 50 percent or more, compared to conventional internal combustion generators. Fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction, compared to combustion engines used in military generators and automobiles.
"By the time fuel reaches deployed troops, the cost can reach hundreds of dollars, and the troops who transport that fuel are some of the most exposed in the battlefield," says Steve Sinsabaugh, Lockheed Martin fuel cell manager. "This milestone brings us closer to fielding military fuel cell generators, which could provide the military a safer, less expensive alternative to conventional power generators."
Lockheed Martin is working with Cleveland-based fuel cell company TMI and Stark State College to mature the fuel cell technology. The team received competitive grants from the Ohio Third Frontier, a program committed to creating new technology-based products, companies, industries, and jobs in 2009 and 2010 to advance fuel cell technology. More than 100,000 military generators are used worldwide to power services, ranging from lighting and air conditioning to powering computers, radios, and command and control systems.