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Protonex wins $1.85m Army contract to develop deployable portable battery charger/APU fuel cell systems

Protonex Technology in Massachusetts has received a $1.85 million contract award from the US Army's Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), to develop and deliver advanced portable battery charger/auxiliary power unit (APU) fuel cell systems.

The contract award to Protonex Technology, which is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also includes three optional phases, which could increase the total contract value to $6.4 million, and include delivery of more than 100 production units.

Under the terms of this five-month, phase one program, Protonex will develop the next generation of its existing proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell based M250-CX platform. This includes increasing its power output, integrating additional battery management and charging capabilities, reducing overall size and weight, and further ruggedizing the system for field use.

At the conclusion of the phase one program, Protonex is expected to deliver multiple fuel cell portable battery charger/APU systems to the US Army, for further testing and field use.

Development of a next-generation system based on the existing 250 W fuel cell platform will provide the military with lightweight, extremely quiet and fuel efficient power systems that can be used as portable field battery chargers or APUs.

Use of the M250-CX fuel cell system could enable new mission scenarios and allow a switch to rechargeable batteries in the field, reducing overall weight and saving significantly on the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on non-rechargeable batteries in the field by the Department of Defense.

‘With this significant award, our development work on the M250 platform of products has been supported to date by a total of $9.6 million in contracts from the US Army and the US Department of Defense,’ says Scott Pearson, CEO of Protonex.

Pearson continues: ‘The potential follow-on funding contemplated by the three program options could pave the way to low-volume procurement of the M250-CX systems within the US Army and other military and government agencies.’

The Protonex M250-CX system is a lightweight, 250 W portable power system that utilizes a PEM fuel cell with advanced methanol reforming technology. It is designed to meet the stringent demands of a wide range of military battery charging and APU applications.

The unique design combines advances in fuel cell energy conversion and battery charging technology into one complete product solution, to provide military battery charging and 28 V auxiliary power with extremely low weight, noise, and thermal signature.


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