DuPont team wins US Military Wearable Power Prize

October 14 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Environment   Year: 2009   Rating: 3

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded its $1 million top prize for the Wearable Power Prize competition to the team of DuPont/Smart Fuel Cell (SFC) based on a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC)system.

Announced in July 2007, the US Department of Defense Research & Engineering 2008 Prize challenged energy companies to develop a lightweight, wearable power systems capable of producing 20 watts average power for 96 hours and weighed less than 4 kilograms. The prize conclude in October 2008 with the following awards:

$1 million First Place
DuPont / SFC Smart Fuel Cell – the prize confirms DuPont’s ability to help transform energy systems through basic science and applied materials. DuPont is already a major contributor to next generation energy materials used in solar cells, fuel cells, and biomaterials. Smart Fuel Cell is also a leading company in fuel cell power systems.

$500,000 Second Place
Adaptive Materials based on its propane-powered solid oxide fuel cells. According to the team’s press release they lost by weight of 28 grams!

$250,000 Third Place
Little is known or published about third place winner Jenny 600S system of Middleburg, Virginia. [We are investigating!!]

Why portable power?
The US military’s efforts are clear – reduce the weight of energy systems for soldiers carrying an increasingly diverse array of electronic equipment from GPS devices, communication devices to vision glasses. The military is also looking for high density systems to power tiny field sensors, urban surveillance robots and unmanned aerial and mobile vehicles (UAVs).

Portable power is equally disruptive for non-military applications. Effective electron storage systems could lower the costs of electric vehicles powered by batteries, fuel cells and capacitors; reinforce national electricity grids; and improve performance and reliability of distributed power systems in urban and rural settings. The science and technologies behind this prize are certain to go well beyond military applications.

Future contests?
The US military has a number of contests that push innovation. The most disruptive is its Grand Challenge for fully autonomous vehicles. But in the world of energy, the next logical step beyond portable power storage will be on site power generation! So we’re imagining small appliances that can take any material and convert raw inputs into usable forms of electricity, hydrogen or liquid fuels.

Keep reading for more details…

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Thin film 'energy harvesting' device maker raises another $13 million (Infinite Power Systems)

December 04 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2017   Rating: 3

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While most companies are focused on growth opportunities around powering homes, cars and factories of the future, some entrepreneurs and startups are targeting another 'next big thing' in micro-power and energy storage systems. 

What's the Big opportunity around Small devices?
A new era of expanded integration of smart sensors and microcontrol systems is likely to change our world, in the same way computer chips and PCs did in the last half of the 20th cenutry.   Technology futurists call this the 'embedded age', or era of ubiquitous and pervasive computing.  Even IBM sees a Smart Planet based on an 'instrumented world' where the number of sensors and micro-devices feeding small bits of data onto the 'web' vastly outnumbers today's connected 'computers and servers'.

Imagine new information flows from every product, car, boat, airplane, person, pet, and farm animal all being gathered by low-powered sensors.  Imagine building a global smart infrastructure where every connection point along the energy grid, highway and pipeline is monitored in real-time.  All these embedded devices sending small packets of mundane, but important data.  Each of these devices will need small amounts of power and an integrated energy storage system.

This could be one of the biggest market opportunities in energy over the next century- powering billions of new portable gadgets, sensors (e.g RFIDs), and micro-electromechanical (MEMS) devices integrated into future everyday objects. 

Seeing a future in 'Energy Harvesting'
Colorado-based Infinite Power Solutions, Inc. (IPS) has raised a Series B round of $13 million to commercialize its solid-state, rechargeable thin-film battery that could be used to 'harvest' ambient energy from micro-power systems driven by light, motion, or heat.  Energy futurists imagine these types of energy storage systems integrated into other micro power systems, rather than rely on the old battery schematic of plugging into a wall socket. Energy Harvesting

The money will go to ramp up volume production of its new THINERGY™ micro-energy cell (MEC™) product family from its new (and 'the world’s first') facility for volume manufacturing of solid-state,rechargeable thin-film batteries.

A Little Energy Device with Big Backers

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