FORT MONMOUTH, N.J., 24 Aug. 2005. U.S. Army scientists are looking to UltraCell Corp. in Livermore, Calif., to design a lightweight, energy-dense, pouch-pocket sized fuel cell power system to assist U.S. forces on extended missions.
UltraCell engineers are doing the work under terms of a contract from the Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) at Fort Monmouth, N.J.
The UltraCell micro fuel cell power system, the XX25, will provide mission power and power for recharging batteries. The XX25, currently in prototype development, will cut by more than a third the total carried weight relative to batteries for three-day missions, and could be as much as 80 percent lighter for longer missions, company officials say.
The UltraCell power source also has the potential to reduce operational costs by eliminating throwaway primary batteries and the logistic burden of recharging batteries.
The XX25 will use a micro fuel reformer, combined with a high-temperature fuel cell stack to provide quiet, efficient power.
Army leaders say they expect the XX25 to have three-to-one advantage over lithium primary batteries and four-to-one advantage over today's military rechargeable batteries, based on a 72-hour mission at 20 watts.
UltraCell's reformed methanol fuel cell (RMFC) system generates fuel-cell-ready hydrogen from concentrated methanol. It yields the power density of a hydrogen fuel cell but uses readily available, low cost methanol fuel.
The cell weighs 2.5 pounds, and is about the size of a paperback novel. A button starts the cell and feeds power as needed. Users can hot-swap the system's spent fuel canisters to provide continuous power in remote situations. The system also can recharge conventional batteries.
For more information contact UltraCell online at www.ultracellpower.com.