RICHLAND, WA - InnovaTek has been awarded a $780,000 contract from the U.S. Army for the development of a novel fuel processor. The device will generate hydrogen for a fuel cell to provide a reliable portable power source for the individual soldier for extended missions. The technology is built on InnovaTek's proprietary compact microchannel architecture that produces hydrogen from readily available fuels such as gasoline and diesel.
The contract is a Phase 2 award under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. During Phase 1 in 2002, InnovaTek developed a proprietary advanced sulfur-tolerant catalyst that provided the key element and technical foundation for the Phase 2 program.
"The individual soldier now carries an incredible amount of gear, much of it electronic", said Dr. Patricia Irving, InnovaTek CEO. "The Army is focused on technologies that can lighten the load while increasing the overall length of time the soldier can remain in the field." This will require advanced power systems that are more efficient than current batteries or generators. Fuel cells have the potential to provide such power. But they must be able to use logistical fuels that are available world wide, even in remote locations, as the source for hydrogen. InnovaTek's technology provides this core ingredient by generating hydrogen through catalytic reforming of complex hydrocarbon fuels.
"By using micro-structured components and novel catalyst and membrane materials, our technology will provide the Army with a more efficient power supply, greatly reducing the quantity of fuel required for mission activities," said Dr. Quentin Ming, the project Principal Investigator and inventor of InnovaTek's catalyst.
The project will culminate in a demonstration system that will prove feasibility of a lightweight, portable power system based on hydrogen from logistical fuels that are available wherever a soldier may be deployed.