Ann Arbor-based Adaptive Materials Inc. said Wednesday that it had been awarded the $1.5 million Phase II option of their existing Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract to provide 50-watt solid oxide fuel cells to the United States Army.

Total DARPA funding for both Phases I and II totals $2.5 million.

Specifically, Adaptive Materials would deliver portable power for use by soldiers in the field via fuel cells powered by JP-8, the Army’s kerosene-based logistic fuel type.

“We continue to meet the power needs of our armed forces by innovating and delivering the fuel cells needed in the field,” said Michelle Crumm, Adaptive Materials chief business officer. “Adaptive Materials’ reliable, portable and rugged fuel cells are the benchmark for the military’s future power sources.” 

Designed to give the individual warfighter a lightweight, quiet, efficient and reliable power source, Adaptive Materials fuel cells are useful for a variety of portable electronics. Its 50-watt system can power a range of applications, including laptops, radios, GPS units, and sensors.

”The integration of JP-8 into fuel cells will lead to higher power systems for unmanned systems, extending their range and operational usefulness,” Crumm added. “More capable unmanned systems help to keep soldiers out of harm’s way, without burdening the soldier with fuel management issues.”

Since the 50-watt units that Adaptive Materials will deliver are fueled directly with JP-8, these systems will simply slip into the current operations of soldiers and decrease the reliance on supply convoys that are at risk for attack. JP-8, a fuel that is similar to commercial diesel and aviation fuel, is used as the prominent fuel on the battlefield. JP-8 is used in everything from tactical generators and unmanned vehicles to the military’s mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles, helicopters, and fighter aircraft.

Adaptive Materials will deliver its fuel cells to the Army Research Laboratory in late 2011 for field-testing.

Adaptive Materials is the first company to develop, demonstrate and deliver a portable, affordable, and fuel flexible solid oxide fuel cell system. The company offers 50 and 250-watt fuel cell systems that are powered by globally available and energy dense propane, butane and LPG. Adaptive Materials’ fuel cell system provides portable power to the United States Armed Forces as well as industries including leisure, remote monitoring, and medical devices.

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