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Fuel-cell generator achieves milestone

Fuel-cell generator achieves milestone
Lockheed Martin recently completed a major test by operating its fuel cell-powered generator using the military’s standard diesel fuel for 1001 consecutive hours. Lockheed Martin

AKRON, Ohio, March 17 (UPI) -- A fuel-cell generator in Ohio has been operated for 1,000 hours for the first time with JP-8 fuel, validating potential in-theater use for the military.

Lockheed Martin Technology Management Inc. said fuel-cell generators would lead to a more efficient, safe and affordable method to convert expensive fuel into electricity.

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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 combustion engines used in military generators and vehicles.

"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's TMI, which is Ohio's oldest fuel-cell company, and Stark State College to mature the fuel-cell technology.

The 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.

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