[[http://www.efoy.com/en/|Smart Fuel Cell]] has the distinction of winning top spots in the U.S. Department of Defense’s first Wearable Power Competition October 2008. SFC took both first and third place, with the M-25 Portable Fuel Cell, which it co-developed with DuPont, taking first, and The Jenny coming in at No. 3.
[[http://www.machine-history.com/Fuel%20Cell%20History|A fuel cell]] is a power generation device that converts chemical energy into electricity with very high efficiencies and without the undesirable side-effects of combustion, flame, noise or vibration. The difference between fuel cells and batteries is that fuel cells separate energy transformation and energy storage. The fuel cell will continue to generate electrical current as long as a gas of liquid medium is added. This Direct Methonal Fuel Cell (DMFC) system employs a mixture of methanol and water, which is introduced to the anode side by a patented internal water-management system. 100% pure methanol is used in the fuel cartridges. Ambient air is pumped into the fuel cell on the cathode side. An electrical circuit connects the anode and the cathode sides. Upon contact with the platinum catalyst, methanol releases its electrons which flow in the direction of the cathode. At the same time, protons are released and these penetrate the membrane to the cathode. There, oxygen reacts with the proton and electrons to form pure water.
“DuPont is very pleased to collaborate with SFC on achieving this milestone,” said Cynthia C. Green, vice president and general manager -- DuPont Fluoroproducts. “Our fuel cell technology represents a major breakthrough in portability that will benefit soldiers through significant weight reduction, while providing a prolonged source of power.”
When worn by soldiers in the field for extended missions, the M-25 is up to 80 percent lighter than conventional power sources, yet is capable of powering a wide range of soldier equipment, such as digital communication and navigation equipment. In addition to its light weight, the M-25 delivers quiet and continuous energy, and offers independent standalone functions such as remote area battery charging and power.
“The M-25 has the capability to revolutionize wearable portable power sources in the field by extending soldier-mission times to 72 hours and beyond,” said Col. Richard Hansen, project manager, Soldier Warrior, U.S. Army. “We want our soldiers in the field to have the best equipment with the least weight to carry, and their gear must be powered reliably on missions. The M-25 is progressing well toward helping us realize this goal.”
The field use of the M-25 fuel cell is part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Defense Acquisition Challenge Program (DACP), which was established to provide opportunities for the increased introduction of innovative and cost-saving technologies, products, or processes into existing Department of Defense (DOD) acquisition programs. DuPont and SFC were selected for this program in November 2005, and since then, DuPont and SFC fuel cells have successfully passed several important milestones. DuPont maintains a minority investment in SFC.
“We are extremely proud that this collaboration between DuPont and SFC has brought the M-25 to market within two years,” said Dr. Peter Podesser, chief executive officer -- SFC Smart 2 Fuel Cell. “Our combined expertise has enabled us to meet DACP’s goals of introducing new technologies to DOD acquisition programs, while adapting some of the latest alternative-energy technologies to the Army’s needs.”
SFC’s JENNY portable fuel cell is a compact, autonomous, silent power supply worn on the body. It ensures that even in remote terrain far from the power grid or any other power source and even under rough environmental conditions soldiers will have a dependable electricity supply for their electrical devices —at any time, in any mission and in any weather. It produces 25 W of power for up to 20 hours of power on that mission before needing a new methanol cartridge.
The JENNY portable fuel cell is operated in combination with the SFC Power Manager, an intelligent power management device which assures that virtually any electronic device can be supplied with electricity by the fuel cell or other available power sources. The SFC Power Manager automatically adapts current and voltage to ensure that mission-critical systems will operate reliably and for much longer periods than batteries alone would allow.
SFC’s JENNY fuel cells and the SFC Power Manager have met rigorous military requirements in extensive field tests and in actual field use. The small size of the fuel cell and the high energy density of the fuel methanol, along with the SFC Power Manager, reduce a soldier’s weight load up to 80 percent compared to carrying conventional lithium-ion batteries. In operation the fuel cell produces close to zero emissions and is barely detectable due to its low surface temperature. It has been proven to operate reliably even in challenging environments such as extreme temperatures (-20 °C to +50 °C / -4 °F to 122 °F) and – without any performance loss - at altitudes exceeding 4,000 m. (13,000 ft) or fully submerged under water.
SFC as of date, has sales of more than 12,000 fuel cell products.