DuPont team wins US Military Wearable Power Prize

October 14 2008 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Environment   Year: 2009   Rating: 3

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded its $1 million top prize for the Wearable Power Prize competition to the team of DuPont/Smart Fuel Cell (SFC) based on a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC)system.

Announced in July 2007, the US Department of Defense Research & Engineering 2008 Prize challenged energy companies to develop a lightweight, wearable power systems capable of producing 20 watts average power for 96 hours and weighed less than 4 kilograms. The prize conclude in October 2008 with the following awards:

$1 million First Place
DuPont / SFC Smart Fuel Cell – the prize confirms DuPont’s ability to help transform energy systems through basic science and applied materials. DuPont is already a major contributor to next generation energy materials used in solar cells, fuel cells, and biomaterials. Smart Fuel Cell is also a leading company in fuel cell power systems.

$500,000 Second Place
Adaptive Materials based on its propane-powered solid oxide fuel cells. According to the team’s press release they lost by weight of 28 grams!

$250,000 Third Place
Little is known or published about third place winner Jenny 600S system of Middleburg, Virginia. [We are investigating!!]

Why portable power?
The US military’s efforts are clear – reduce the weight of energy systems for soldiers carrying an increasingly diverse array of electronic equipment from GPS devices, communication devices to vision glasses. The military is also looking for high density systems to power tiny field sensors, urban surveillance robots and unmanned aerial and mobile vehicles (UAVs).

Portable power is equally disruptive for non-military applications. Effective electron storage systems could lower the costs of electric vehicles powered by batteries, fuel cells and capacitors; reinforce national electricity grids; and improve performance and reliability of distributed power systems in urban and rural settings. The science and technologies behind this prize are certain to go well beyond military applications.

Future contests?
The US military has a number of contests that push innovation. The most disruptive is its Grand Challenge for fully autonomous vehicles. But in the world of energy, the next logical step beyond portable power storage will be on site power generation! So we’re imagining small appliances that can take any material and convert raw inputs into usable forms of electricity, hydrogen or liquid fuels.

Keep reading for more details…

Prize background:

The US Department of Defense launched the innovative competition in July 2007 by offering a $1 million first prize for a wearable system that provides 20 watts (avg.) of electrical power for 96 hours, weighs less than 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds), attaches to a standard military vest, and operates autonomously. [List of technologies]

After beginning with 169 registered entries, six final teams were selected. Final testing was held at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California on October 4, 2008.

All of the finalists used either fuel-cell or battery technologies or a combination of both to meet the rigorous standards set by the DoD.

- Defense Research and Engineering Prize Web site
- Final 20 Contestents [PDF]
- Information Presentation
- Team Roster
- DuPont Press release
- Adaptive Materials Inc Press release

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