Fuel cells have the potential to dramatically change how the military carries out its missions, and how soldiers operate in the field. With the largest, most technologically advanced military in the world, the U.S. armed services use an immense amount of fuel and electricity, and any use of alternative energy would have positive effects on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, fuel cells are of particular interest to the military not for their environmental savings, but because of unique technical features that can aid soldiers in the field.
Elizabeth Delmont | Fuel Cells 2000
The military has power needs that are quite different from commercial or residential applications. In a combat setting stealth is of the utmost importance, since noise and heat signatures can be used to locate military personnel. Fuel cells have no moving parts and are extremely quiet with a low noise signature, making them more difficult to detect by remote infrared scanning. Fuel cells can operate close to body temperature, as opposed to batteries which give off significant heat, reducing their heat signature as well. Due to their scalability and power output capabilities, fuel cells have been demonstrated and tested for use in numerous military applications.
Protonex Technology Corporation is working closely with the military to design fuel cells for UAVs. The company’s UAVs have increased flight endurance, are smaller, more flexible, and more cost effective than alternatives, allowing for more persistent surveillance, improved search and rescue capabilities, chemical and biological monitoring.
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