October 14, 2008: QuantumSphere Inc., a developer of advanced catalyst materials, high performance electrodes, and related technologies and systems for portable power and clean-energy applications, has been awarded a grant by the United States Army for the development of advanced fuel cell technology that improves efficiency, integration and portability and reduces costs for portable power applications.
Under the Army’s Small Business Innovation Research Program, QuantumSphere will develop a unitized reformed methanol fuel cell. In the first, nine-month phase of the project, the company will be awarded $120,000 to investigate the synthesis and electrochemistry of bifunctional anodes, high temperature electrolyte membranes and low-cost cathode catalysts for a 5W fuel cell.
If successful, QuantumSphere will move to the second phase of the project, a two-year $750,000 effort to develop a 200W methanol reforming fuel cell in a smaller, lighter form factor to power portable electronic devices in the Army’s Future Force Warrior program. The fuel cell is intended to help soldiers operate portable electronic devices without the noise and heat signatures produced by diesel generators.
“Based on our research and our technology background, we feel the goals of the first phase of the project are quite feasible for the development of new materials in highly portable unitized methanol fuel cells,” said Subra Iyer, principal technologist for QuantumSphere. “In the first phase, we will be working on synthesizing some of the high-temperature electrolytes needed for the fuel cell and we have several indications of why we feel this approach will work. In the second phase, we will work on improving the power efficiency and operational issues of this technology that will enable the Army to mount these fuel cells on trucks and provide silent power without the use of diesel generators.”