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Winning system weighed under 8 pounds and provided 96 hours of run time

New battery technology and fuel cells are being looked to for more than longer battery life and more runtime for your notebook or other gadgets. The U.S. military is looking for improved power systems that are wearable for soldiers in the field.

The Pentagon held a contest with 170 different companies participating. The top prize in the contest was $1 million. The goal of the contest was to find a wearable power system for U.S. soldiers that would meet strict criteria for power output, run time, and weight.

According to MSNBC.com, the Pentagon found a winner for its contest. The winning product was created with joint effort from DuPont and German firm SFC Smart Fuel Cell. The system won the $1 million prize and the power system is already being sold to the U.S. military for limited field use.

The need for the new power system was to reduce the weight of current power systems that supply needed power to soldier's night vision and GPS technologies among other things. Currently soldiers would often have to carry as much as 20 pounds of batteries alone to power needed systems.

Requirements to participate in the contest were for power systems that produced 20W of average power for 96 hours with the ability to meet brief peak demands of 200W and the system could weigh no more than 8.8 pounds (4kg) total. The battery systems competing were attached to a standard military vest for testing.

The winning system from the DuPont venture is called the M-25. MSNBC reports that it won by virtue of being the lightest system at only 3.7621 kg. The second place system was from Adaptive Materials and weighed 3.7901 kg, and the third place system was the Jenny 600S weighing 3.85 kg.

Fuel cell systems for consumer use, like the Medis fuel cell, are capable of producing a mere fraction of the power the winning systems in the Pentagon test produced.





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