One innovative technology for the modern soldier is a fuel cell power pack that features innovative chemistry and assembly technology.
Medis Technologies of Lod, Israel, received a $500,000 order from General Dynamics C4 Systems to develop a 20-watt fuel cell power pack for the U.S. Department of Defense Wearable Power Competition. The DoD wants a wearable power system that lasts four days and reduces the weight of the soldier’s field battery load.
The top three competitors that demonstrate a wearable system that produces 20 watts average power for 96 hours at a weight of no more than 4 kilograms will win one of three 3 prizes of $1 million, $500,000 and $250,000, respectively.
“Successful conclusion of this development will expand our fuel cell power capabilities from the present level of cell phones, smart phones, Mp3 players, and PDAs, to encompass the power needs of various platforms, including tablet and laptop computers and products falling into similar categories of power requirements,” says Robert K. Lifton, chairman and CEO of Medis Technologies.
Unlike the traditional fuel cell approaches, Medis technology is not based on traditional proton exchange membrane (PEM) or methanol-based technologies.
According to its patent, Medis uses an electrocatalyst based on a highly electroconducting polymer and a material in which transition metal atoms are covalently bonded to heteroatoms of the backbone monomers of the polymer. An electrode for a fuel cell is made by impregnating an electrically conducting sheet with the catalytic complex and drying the impregnated sheet.
The fuel cell uses a complex assembly process to avoid adhesives, all in line with its promotion of its fuel cell technology as “green.”
“We are using orbital vibration to weld the different membranes (anode and cathode) producing the energy,” comments Didier Perret, sales manager of Branson Ultrasonics in Switzerland. “We are using advanced ultrasonic welding for several assembly operations (to replace screw, glue or others). And finally we use the latest infrared laser technology GEN 3 to weld the fuel tank with a high safety level.”