Protonex wins US Army contract to further develop SOFC power systems

US-based Protonex Technology has received a $2.0 million contract award from the US Army to build, test and deliver solid oxide fuel cell power systems. This program will focus on advancing the robustness of the Protonex SOFC systems operating on high-performance liquid fuels.

This 12-month contract builds on a prior Protonex Technology program with the US Army, and will focus on system integration and testing to develop a fully integrated liquid fuel generator system. At the conclusion of the program, Protonex is expected to deliver multiple liquid-fueled SOFC power systems to the Army for further testing and evaluation.

There is growing military and commercial interest in the use of common liquid fuels, including alternative or renewable fuels to reduce dependence on oil. Solid oxide fuel cells, with their low emissions and high efficiency, are well suited to generate electricity from such high-energy-density fuel sources. Fuel-flexible generators capable of operating on both traditional and alternative liquid fuels can provide highly efficient electricity generation from both today’s transportation fuels and the biofuels of tomorrow.

Development of these small SOFC units – by Protonex and other developers – will provide the military with lightweight, extremely quiet and fuel efficient power systems that can be used as auxiliary power units (APUs), portable generators or field battery-chargers. With further anticipated improvements, Protonex portable SOFC systems could save more than 60% of the weight of existing power solutions and, when used to power equipment directly, the fuel cell units offer potential savings of more than 80% of the weight burden of primary batteries.

‘This program will allow us to accelerate the conversion of our SOFC systems to liquid fuels, and further advance our leading-edge SOFC platforms for military and commercial markets,’ comments Dr Jerry Martin, vice president of SOFC development for Protonex.

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