Fuel Cells Could Decrease the Burden on Military Logistics, Says ABI

Fuel cells have the potential to replace current power supplies of batteries and diesel generators, or supply essential reliable power in the battlefield, according to technology research firm ABI.

Oyster Bay, NY - October 22, 2003


The U.S. military's airborne infantry unit had to carry 22 different types of batteries into the battlefield in Iraq, clearly raising logistics issues. Hauling fuel onto a battlefield costs between $1 per gallon to $400 per gallon to the U.S. military, depending on the location and type of operation. Fuel cells have the potential to replace current power supplies of batteries and diesel generators, or supply essential reliable power in the battlefield, according to technology research firm ABI.

While the U.S. Department of Defense is already transforming the U.S. military, fuel cells are considered an emerging power source that could support the U.S. military's mission in years to come.

However, the potential for fuel cells in military market applications, from military radios to APU units in combat vehicles, will have to be analyzed from different angles, starting with further progress on the technological side. There are different fuel cell technological approaches and different fuel uses currently being considered for military markets. "Improving reliability of the total fuel cell package under extreme conditions is still a top priority for fuel cell developers," says Atakan Ozbek, ABI's Director of Energy Research.

There are a number of issues which must be solved before any significant number of fuel cells is observed:

- Fuel reformation, wherein the military uses mainly JP-8 as its chosen fuel
- Satisfaction, or performance over a specific mission
- System energy densities, which must surpass that of current batteries
-Standardization: Major military contractors must collaborate with fuel cell developers to rigorously test the overall fuel cell package in order to satisfy lengthy military testing, codes and standards

The study, "Military Fuel Cell Markets: Market Potential in a New Era of Military Applications," tracks current fuel cell technologies and analyzes the potential benefits of using fuel cells in military applications. The study defines and provides growth projections for market segments, including stationary, automotive, and the much-touted portable applications. Major regulatory and business issues are also covered in the ABI study.

ABI is a N.Y.-based technology market research firm founded in 1990. ABI publishes market research and technology intelligence on the wireless, automotive, electronics, networking and energy industries. Details can be found on the web at abiresearch.com or by calling 516-624-3113.

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