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15 Mar 11. Lockheed Martin and Technology Management Inc. (TMI) for the first time have operated a fuel cell generator for 1,000 hours using the military’s standard fuel, JP-8. This milestone paves the way to field fuel cell generators in theater to create a more efficient, safe and affordable method to convert expensive fuel into electricity. Fuel cell generators can reduce fuel consumption by 50 percent or more, compared to conventional internal combustion generators. Similar to a battery, fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction, unlike the combustion engines used in military generators and automobiles.
“By the time fuel reaches deployed troops, the cost can reach hundreds of dollars, and the troops who transport that fuel are some of the most exposed in the battlefield,” said Steve Sinsabaugh, Lockheed Martin fuel cell manager. “This milestone brings us closer to fielding military fuel cell generators, which could provide the military a safer, less expensive alternative to conventional power generators.”
Lockheed Martin is working with Cleveland-based TMI, which is Ohio’s oldest fuel cell company, and Stark State College to mature the fuel cell technology. This team received competitive grants from the Ohio Third Frontier, a program committed to creating new technology-based products, companies, industries and jobs, in 2009 and 2010 to advance fuel cell technology. More than 100,000 military generators are used worldwide to power services ranging from lighting and air conditioning to powering computers, radios and command and control systems.