RICHLAND, WA - The Office of Naval Research has awarded a contract to InnovaTek for a Phase 2 award under the Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Program. The goal of the project is to develop and demonstrate a portable power source for the individual soldier based on InnovaTek’s logistical fuel processor coupled with a fuel cell. InnovaTek is partnering with Chevron Technology Ventures and the Colorado School of Mines to develop the required technologies. A contract for the Phase 2 base period has been signed for just over a half million dollars and will be completed within 18 months. Then the Company is eligible for more than $1.3 million under two 12-month Option periods when scaled-up prototypes will be produced and demonstrated.
“The fuel cell generators developed under this program will be used by the Navy’s Marine Corps Expeditionary Units (MEUs),” said Jeffrey Pickles, InnovaTek Principal Investigator for the project. “The MEU is a forward-deployed, self-sustaining force that combatant commanders can direct to accomplish a variety of special operations and conventional missions including security operations, tactical recovery of personnel, and humanitarian assistance. The MEU brings all the supplies it needs to sustain itself for quick mission accomplishment or to pave the way for any follow-up forces.”
Considerable advantages may be gained by the U.S. Defense Department through the use of fuel cell power sources. Missions in remote locations are frequently limited by the amount of power that can be carried on foot and/or left in place for unattended equipment operation. Advanced rechargeable batteries may significantly reduce the weight of batteries for MEUs. A portable, high density power supply is required so that on-foot expeditionary units can take advantage of rechargeable battery technologies in the field. The need to send personnel units (on foot or by vehicle) out to service batteries in remotely fielded sensors and equipment presents significant logistics and safety burdens and high cost. A person portable fuel cell powered generator that operates on JP-8 will greatly improve the MEUs’ power generation capabilities allowing for long term unmanned power generation and for field recharging of advanced light weight batteries.
A critical technical challenge for military use of fuel cells is the ability to convert logistic fuels such as JP-8 to hydrogen that will feed a fuel cell. InnovaTek’s novel fuel processing technology addresses that challenge.
“We are proud of our technical accomplishments during Phase 1 of this program and pleased that the Navy has recognized those achievements and awarded the funds to continue the development of our technology in Phase 2,” said Patricia Irving, InnovaTek CEO.
InnovaTek is an advanced technology development company that provides solutions for environmental safety and sustainable power.