Army looking for companies able to build rugged fuel cells for powering equipment on Army vehicles

FORT HOOD, Texas, 29 June 2010. U.S. Army test and evaluation experts are surveying industry to find companies qualified to design and build prototype compact, lightweight fuel cells able to operate continuously for at least 100 hours for providing power for test and instrumentation equipment on Army ground vehicles.

Jun 29th, 2010

FORT HOOD, Texas, 29 June 2010. U.S. Army test and evaluation experts are surveying industry to find companies qualified to design and build prototype compact, lightweight, rugged military fuel cells able to operate continuously for at least 100 hours for providing power for test and instrumentation equipment on Army ground vehicles.

The Army Test & Evaluation Command (ATEC) at Fort Hood, Texas, released a sources sought notice (W91N5R-0162-3000F) to determine interest and capability in the defense industry to design and manufacturer Lightweight Alternative Power Source (LAPS) fuel cell technology. Army officials caution that this is not a solicitation, and is only for market research.

Still, Army officials are releasing a detailed description of the kinds of LAPS fuel cell power electronics technology they want, and this notice eventually could evolve into a formal request for proposals.

The Army is interested in fuel cells with operating lives of at least three years with a minimum of 10 cycles of refueling and field use per year -- or 3,000 hours of operational use -- which will operate in harsh military conditions in the field, involving sand and dust, temperature extremes, as well as shock and vibration.

Companies interested should be able to design and build four pre-production fuel cells and 50 low rate initial production (LRIP) fuel cells, which are no larger than 1.6 cubic feet -- or 15 inches long by 15 inches high by 12 inches wide -- and weigh no more than 57 pounds with fuel or 37 pounds empty. Ultimately the Army wants fuel cells no larger than one cubic foot.

These fuel cells must meet MIL-STD-810G for shock, vibration, and transit drop, and must have air filters to protect from sand, dust, and vehicle exhaust. Army officials expect these fuel cells to operate in temperatures from -10 to 50 degrees Celsius. Furthermore these fuel cells must have shelf lives of at least four years.

For performance, cells must provide at least 100 Watts of power at 28 volts DC, with an efficiency of at least 75 percent. Startup time without batteries should take no longer than 10 minutes without batteries, or 30 seconds if startup batters are provided. Fuel cells also must be quiet -- no more than 50 decibels of noise measured eight feet away.

Companies interested should be able to build as many as 1,000 units. Companies able to meet these requirements should introduce themselves to the Army no later than 2 July 2010. To do so, contact the Army's Tina Guillot by phone at 254-288-1204, by e-mail at tina.a.guillot@us.army.mil, or by post to U.S. Army ATEC Contracting Activity, ATTN: CSTE-CA, P.O. Box Y, Fort Hood, Texas 76544-0770.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USA/TECOM/DATM01/W91N5R-0162-3000F/listing.html.

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