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Protonex fuel cell powers unmanned ground vehicle for record mission duration

Massachusetts-based Protonex Technology reports that its technology development partner Foster-Miller Inc has demonstrated ‘record’ unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) endurance capabilities, by integrating a Protonex fuel cell power system into a Foster-Miller Talon™ robotic UGV.

The Talon robot, with a hybridized fuel cell/battery power system from Protonex, demonstrated three times the operational mission range and twice the energy density of its existing advanced battery systems. The demonstration was conducted as a part of the Next Generation Manufacturing Technologies Initiative (NGMTI), sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and led by the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA).

As part of the NGMTI program, funded through the Defense Logistics Agency and managed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, Protonex developed and integrated an advanced fuel cell power platform with battery hybridization into the existing battery bay of the Talon robot. The hybrid fuel cell power system delivered approximately 200 W of continuous power, and also met all peak power demands of the Talon robot.

Protonex combined the high power density of its advanced fuel cell systems with a high energy density chemical hydride fuel to significantly extend the duration and mission capabilities of the existing Talon UGV robotics platform. Based on performance data from Foster-Miller, the Protonex fuel cell platform allowed the Talon robot to increase its mission range from 15 km (9.3 miles) to 45 km (28 miles). This extremely successful demonstration was the first integration of a hybrid fuel cell/battery platform into a Foster-Miller Talon robot.

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