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Carbon-Free Soldier Power Generators (C-SPG)


OUSD (R&E) MODERNIZATION PRIORITY: General Warfighting Requirements TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Soldier Platform; Materials; Power Systems OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this Direct to Phase II is to develop a safe Carbon-Free 50W Soldier-worn fuel cell power generator (C-SPG) that uses Alane (Aluminum Hydride – AlH3) an environmentally safe, high energy density solid fuel to provide users with a light weight power generator (delivered energy density that is ~ 3 times that of rechargeable batteries) to recharge batteries “on-the-move” or “at-the-halt”. Additional objectives of the project include 1) Examining the feasibility of making affordable Alane with green Hydrogen generated from renewable sources and 2) Enabling a US based supply chain for Power Generation systems and Alane Fuel. An Alane fuel based power generation system enables completely environmentally green – both energy source (fuel) and power generation (electricity) that is affordable, mobile, and safe for use and the environment. DESCRIPTION: This is a Direct to Phase II topic. Dismounted Soldiers on extended missions lack the capability to recharge batteries “on-the-move.” Dismounted squads and platoons need to either carry additional batteries or rely on battery resupply to meet their power and energy demands. C5ISR is developing Soldier Wearable Power Generation technology that can facilitate battery recharging “on-the-move”. This enhances the Function Concept for Movement and Maneuver by enabling operation with fewer battery swaps and eliminating the need to carry additional batteries. Soldiers on extended missions equipped with the power generator experience a significant reduction in load since they need to carry only additional fuel for their energy needs. Previously, the US Army developed a thin form factor 20W SPG that reached TRL-7 following the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments (AEWE) in 2016. SPG requirements increased due to new Soldier electronics with increased capabilities and power at 50 Watts. The Objective is to develop a 50W Alane SPG. Proposer will leverage the prior work on a 20 W SPG type system to demonstrate the following: • Develop a 50 W Alane- SPG with a system weight of 6lbs (T) and 4lbs (O) including 250 Wh of Fuel • The System shall have a charge controller capable of providing Level II SMBus adjustable voltage and current output to support BB-2525 and CWB battery charging • System shall be capable of operating indoors and while worn by the Soldier on his back or in his ruck-sack • The System shall have a volume of less than 60 cubic inches including fuel and with a length and width not exceeding 7 inches and a depth not to exceed 3 inches, with an objective of less than 45 cubic inches including a 3 times startup hybrid battery • System design and implementation shall allow for Soldier operation between -20°C to +55°C • System shall be ruggedized (IAW MIL-STD-810 & MIL-STD-1472) Upon success this C-SPG based on Alane fuel will enable environmentally green power generation, that is affordable, mobile, and safe for use by the Soldier and safe for the environment. The C-SPG is expected to meet the increased energy demand from Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team (SL CFT) initiatives for Nett Warrior (NW) and Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). It will provide a lightweight power system to autonomously recharge batteries “on-the-move” and eliminate the need to either carry additional batteries or rely on battery resupply to meet their energy demands on extended missions. PHASE I: This topic is intended for technology proven ready to move directly into Phase II. Therefore, a Phase I award is not required. The offeror is required to provide detail and documentation in the Direct to Phase II proposal which demonstrates accomplishment of a "Phase I-like" effort, including a feasibility study. This includes determining, insofar as possible, the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of an Alane-based fuel cell system to have commercial potential. Technical Feasibility and Proof of Concept may reference the Army reports on Alane SPGs from AEWE 2016. PHASE II: Develop a Soldier Power Generator (C-SPG) system that provides a power output of 50 Watts; Update the size of Alane fuel cartridge to provide 250 Wh of energy; Participate in Soldier Touch Point exercises like AEWE and refine SPG design based on feedback from Soldier Touch Point exercise and for Tech Eval.. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Ruggedization and refinement of C-SPG from Tech Eval; Perform Operational Eval at the squad level; Establish initial LRIP manufacturing capability. Acquisition of SPG systems based on Alane as a fuel is expected to set the stage for a wider adoption by DOD for power generation needs for UUVs, UAVs and UGVs. This technology is also applicable for urban mobility solutions like “electric scooters” leading to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. REFERENCES: 1. Thampan and S. Shah; “Development of a Soldier Wearable Power System (WPS)”, Proceedings of the 47th Power Sources Conference, Orlando, 2016. 2. T. Thampan, S. Shah, D. Shah, J. Novoa, and C. Cook; “Development and Evaluation of Portable and Wearable Fuel Cells for Soldier Use”, Journal of Power Sources, Vol 259, pp 276-281, 2014. KEYWORDS: Fuel Cell; Power System; Power Generation; Wearable; Renewable Hydrogen; Alane; Green Hydrogen; Battery Charging; On-the-Move.
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