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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

04 March 2015

Enforce Tac 2015: Reliable Off Grid Power for Special Forces and Future Soldier in Hot Climates

Modern Future Soldier and Special Forces systems are becoming ever more power-hungry. Optimum soldier safety and operability depend upon reliable power supplies. In hot, dusty climates, devices face an additional number of environmental challenges, e.g. overheating, clogging or drying out. Conventional solutions are limited: Batteries alone cannot meet the requirements in multi-day missions, forcing soldiers to carry large and heavy spare batteries – weight and volume they cannot use for water, food or ammunition - and producing extra physical stress in the hot surroundings. Generators require maintenance and produce detectable signatures. In hot weather, they may overheat. Solar modules, even though a good power source in a climate with much sun, will not work when they are covered with sand or dust. In addition, due to their high visibility they often become prey to theft. SFC Energy solutions based on direct-methanol-fuel-cells are a silent, lightweight, non-detectable alternative.

Fuel cells recharge batteries fully automatically. Thanks to the high energy density of their fuel (30 times higher than that of lead batteries and 7 times higher than that of li-ion batteries) soldiers can carry along much power at minimum weight and volume. Intelligent power management enables hybrid operation with other energy sources, e. g. solar panels.

Specifically for operation in hot climates SFC has developed an intelligent heat management system inside its fuel cells. At high temperatures, a heat conduction system prevents overheating of all system components.

Communication, sensing and weapon systems require a continuous power supply. In the vehicle engine starts cause cover loss, emissions, fuel consumption, and component wear. Fielded forces face similar problems: They must carry along heavy batteries. The EMILY fuel cell provides reliable power in multi-day missions. It recharges batteries fully automatically on demand, 24/7, in any weather, without requiring user attention.

Fuel cells enable 80 % weight savings in fielded missions. The SFC energy network consisting of the portable JENNY 600S fuel cell and the SFC Power Manager is a man portable, flexible fuel cell system. It supplies 24/7 reliable power without emissions or detectable signature. It powers electric devices directly. Operation in combination with the SFC Power Manager enables use of different power sources and parallel charging of up to 4 batteries.

SFC Energy fuel cell products are used by numerous international defense organizations. SFC Energy has been cooperating closely with German Bundeswehr for over 10 years. It is the world’s first company with a fuel cell fully approved for use by the German Bundeswehr. SFC Energy has sold over 30,000 fuel cell systems in defense and security, off-grid industry and consumer applications worldwide.

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #2/2015, available at the show. 

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