The Navy said the new technology is nearly ready for use in the field
The U.S. Office of Naval Research says it has developed a solid-oxide fuel cell power unit that can reduce fuel use by up to 44 percent compared with diesel systems now in use at forward camps.
“Fuel cells are real and are ready for transition to our warfighters,” said Don Hoffman, a program officer in ONR’s Sea Warfare and Weapons Department.
“We’re pushing forward to examine adapting this technology for use aboard ships as well.”
The fuel cell produces electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, using a reformer to convert high-sulfur fuels such as JP-8 jet fuel into hydrogen-rich gas that can power the cell.
The new technology is almost silent, where diesel generators make a loud noise.
Maritime eco-efficiency advisor Fathom recently detailed the possibilities for fuel-cell use in maritime power applications in a Ship & Bunker feature.