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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

03 May 2016

Xponential 2016: Silent, Non-Detectable Off-Grid Power for Covert Applications

Vehicle based, mobile, and stationary audio and video surveillance equipment is used for monitoring and protecting infrastructure, border installations and public events. Often, these systems must be installed and operated without attracting any attention.

Conventional solutions are limited: According to SFC Energy, batteries alone cannot meet the requirements in multi-day or multi-equipment scenarios, forcing operators to organise large, heavy replacement batteries, a challenge especially in mobile and vehicle based applications; generators produce noise and pollution and require much maintenance; solar modules are weather dependent; and due to their high visibility they are not suitable for covert operations. SFC power solutions with fuel cells are a silent, lightweight, non-detectable alternative.

Fuel cells are connected to batteries, which they recharge on demand, fully automatically. Thanks to the high energy density of their fuel (30 times higher than that of lead acid batteries and seven times higher than that of Li-ion batteries, according to SFC), they enable high power output at minimum weight and volume. Operation of a fuel cell is silent, environmentally friendly and almost noise and emission-free. This makes them an ideal power source in covert missions. Their special benefit in unmanned applications: They support extremely long power autonomy of many weeks and months.

The EMILY fuel cell is ideal for demanding, unmanned surveillance and monitoring missions. It can be used either as standalone power source or in hybrid operation with other power sources, i.e. solar modules. Intelligent power management ensures that the fuel cell will only start operation, when the other power sources do not produce sufficient power any more. An additional advantage of fuel cells is their relatively small size and light weight. Fuel cell and battery fit easily into an easy to camouflage outdoor box.

Reconnaissance systems on board of vehicles require continuous power supply. Engine starts for recharging the batteries cause a loss of coverage, detectable emissions, component wear, and fuel consumption. The EMILY fuel cell will reliably provide power to the electrical systems on board for days on end, silently and with minimum non-detectable emissions.

SFC Energy fuel cell products are being used by numerous international police, defence, and intelligence organisations. SFC Energy has been cooperating closely with defence organisations for over 10 years. It is the world’s first company with a fuel cell fully approved for use by German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr). The US Army Test and Evaluation Command uses SFC fuel cells on their test ranges to power instrumentation. SFC Energy has sold over 35,000 fuel cell systems in defense and security, off-grid industry and consumer applications worldwide. For mobile security and surveillance application, i.e. for monitoring major events or temporary structures, SFC Energy has developed specific trailer solutions with fuel cells.