U.S. Army to Develop Soldier-Worn Power-Management Systems

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Experts at Protonex Technology Corp. in Southborough, Mass., will develop soldier-worn power-management systems under terms of a $2.2 million contract from the Army Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass.

SPM-611. Photo: Protonex
SPM-611. Photo: Protonex

Army researchers are awarding the contract to Protonex as part of the Soldier-Borne Power Sources program, which seeks to develop miniature soldier-wearable power electronics and data technology for wearable power management.

Protonex specializes in fuel cell power for portable, remote, and mobile applications in the 100 to 1,000-Watt range. The company uses patented proton exchange membrane (PEM) and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technologies to build small, lightweight fuel cell systems.

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According to Military & Aerospace Protonex has developed several products for military, commercial, and consumer applications. Army researchers are asking Protonex to expand on the company’s products such as the SPM-611, which is designed to reduce the number and variety of batteries that today’s foot soldiers need. The system also actively monitors and manages the warfighter’s power usage.

The Protonex SPM technology combines efficient power conversion, equipment power management, and energy harvesting technology in one product that is able to withstand the harsh operating conditions of military field use.

The unit powers many kinds of man-packable military equipment, recharges a soldier’s or squad’s batteries, and adjusts to changing mission conditions or requirements, company officials say.