BOSTON, November 14, 2005 – A contract has been awarded to Reactive Innovations, LLC (RIL), formerly MicroCell Technologies, from the US Army Tank Command (TACOM) to develop a hydrogen gas generator. RIL’s chemical hydride reactor technology was selected by the Army to show its fast-start capability and high reaction yield for producing hydrogen gas for fuel cell backup power generators. Innovative design features of RIL’s reactor allow it to operate with unpurified water sources to efficiently react all of the chemical hydride in a controllable manner. With this approach, it is possible to use a variety of water sources including seawater and surface water with the chemical hydride reactor to produce high purity hydrogen gas for a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell backup power generator. RIL’s hydrogen generator will shorten the start-up time for delivering hydrogen gas to the fuel cell generator allowing it to provide power quicker for forward theatre operations. Under this contract, RIL will develop a bench-scale reactor for the Army showing the reaction process and control functions. Ultimately, this reactor will be scaled to a larger size that will produce hydrogen gas for a 5 kW PEM fuel cell at 80 liters/min for 12 hours. At this level, RIL’s reactor design has projected energy capacities of 837 W-hr/kg and 825 W-hr/liter on a wet-basis.
Beyond this immediate use for forward theatre fuel cell backup power, RIL’s compact chemical hydride based fuel storage and generator can be used for other commercial applications. These include fuel cell backup power systems for digital economy businesses including telecommunications, financial institutions, and ticket agency sites that need reliable power at all times. This fuel processor technology is also scalable to lower power systems (e.g., 1-100 watts) that can be used to power portable electronic devices including tools, laptops, and soldier portable power.