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US forces order fuel-cell units for medevac stretchers

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The US military will use fuel-cell power units attached to stretchers to power critical medical machinery used in casualty evacuation, according to reports.

Fuel Cell Today reports that Jadoo Power has received a new Defense Department contract to produce its Portable Electric Power Supply for Aeromedical Evacuation (PEPSAE) 100-watt unit, with a view to use attached to medevac stretchers. The PEPSAE runs on three swappable N-Stor 360 hydride fuel cartridges, which hold 1080 watt-hours of juice and allow the unit to deliver nominal power for ten hours before needing new cartridges. The electricity is used to run life-support and monitoring equipment as required by the casualty in the stretcher.

According to Jadoo, the previous medevac stretcher support equipment used by the US military weighed 159lbs. The PEPSAE unit and its cartridges weigh 40lb, and allow the stretcher and casualty to be independent of vehicle or aircraft power.

The only emission produced by the unit is water vapour from the PEM fuel cell, which combines hydrogen from the fuel cartridges with atmospheric oxygen to produce power.

The company also announced a separate US military contract last month intended to develop lighter PEM fuel-cell units for use in unattended ground sensors and to power equipment carried by foot soldiers. Jadoo cartridge-cell kit has also been used (pdf) to power extended-range versions of the (in)famous Segway wheely-bollard device. ®

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