UltraCell power source aims to lighten soldiers' load

Over at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, is demonstrating its XX25 micro methanol fuel cell system, a portable power source designed for the military that aims to significantly lower the total weight toted by soldiers. The Army has chosen the XX25, UltraCell says, because it boasts up to a 70 percent weight advantage over currently available military rechargeable batteries, based on a 72-hour mission at 20 watts.

UltraCell XX25
Credit: UltraCell

UltraCell, based in Livermore, Calif., has designed the XX25 for evaluation to military testing specifications ranging from extreme operating temperatures to combat situation vibration and shock conditions. The system, for example, will be manufactured to operate in sub-zero and desert environments or survive hard drops while in transit. The hot-swappable cartridge is also geared toward reducing operational costs through the reduction of throwaway primary batteries and the logistical burden of recharging batteries.

Delivery of the UltraCell XX25 production samples for military evaluation at the Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, is slated for the second quarter of 2006, and UltraCell also anticipates beta testing of a commercial version, the UC25, later this year.

Of interest to consumers here is the claim that the UC25 will be able to run a laptop in a typical duty cycle for up to two working days on a single methanol fuel cell cartridge.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.


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