Lockheed Martin secured a contract with the Office of Naval Research for the design and development of solid oxide fuel cell generator sets as an alternative to traditional battlefield power generation equipment. Lockheed Martin's fuel cell technology will be integrated with solar panels, providing the military with the power needed to perform missions while using dramatically less fuel.
At the end of the 32-month development program, Lockheed Martin will demonstrate and deliver a multi-kilowatt JP-8 compatible Fuel Cell Efficient Power Node for evaluation by the U.S. Marines. The goal of the approximately $3 million dollar contract is to reduce overall fuel usage required for tactical electrical generation by 50 percent or more.
Solid oxide fuel cells convert fuel into electricity using a chemical reaction that is 30 to 50 percent more efficient than the combustion engines used in diesel generators, which are the largest consumers of fuel on the battlefield today.
Because fuel cells require less fuel to create the same amount of power, they offer the potential to save billions of dollars in operational costs and to reduce the number of military casualties that are directly related to the delivery of fuel.
"Lockheed Martin shares the U.S. Department of Defense's top goals of increasing the safety of our troops and reducing operational costs," said Dan Heller, vice president of new ventures for Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors.
"Alternative energy solutions, such as the fuel cell we are developing for the Office of Naval Research, can help mitigate these challenges, advancing the strength and flexibility of our military operating in some of the world's toughest conditions."
Lockheed Martin is working with Cleveland-based TMI to mature the fuel cell technology. In addition to Lockheed Martin-funded research and development, this team has received competitive grants from the Ohio Third Frontier, a program committed to creating new technology-based products, companies, industries and jobs.
In 2011, Lockheed Martin became the first company to continuously operate a solid oxide fuel cell generator set for over one thousand hours on standard DoD-supplied JP-8, and remains the only company to do so to date.