Fuel cell manufacturers and OEMs continue to benefit from an increased U.S. military emphasis on energy security and logistical efficiency associated with the complex and challenging operational conditions being encountered in remote wartime environments such as Afghanistan. At the same time, an almost complete dependence on a fragile and vulnerable commercial power grid and other national critical infrastructure places military and homeland defense missions at an unacceptably high risk of extended disruption. Reducing the strategic and tactical vulnerabilities associated with powering military equipment and strategic installations has subsequently emerged as a leading priority for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Performance is the most powerful driving force for the adoption of fuel cells by the world' s armed forces. Enhancing the overall capabilities and performance of the U.S. armed forces is the leading priority for U.S. military agencies in considering new technologies and products for funding and potential integration into various military systems. Low noise and a low heat signature represent two good examples, providing specific benefits to military users that may not be as important to other customers. Production of water as a by-product may also be of great use in remote locations. Overall though, the most attractive attribute of fuel cell systems is there high energy density, particularly when compared to standard military batteries.
This Pike Research report examines the stationary, transport and portable power applications for fuel cell technologies currently being explored and validated by the U.S. Department of Defense, including a detailed analysis of market drivers as well as potential barriers to adoption. Forecasts through 2017 are also provided for those technologies and applications that are deemed as offering a realistic possibility of being deployed within that timeframe.
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