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Study available on power sources for military applications

Frost And Sullivan : 20 March, 2008  (New Product)
Frost and Sullivan report predicts rapid increase within the next five years for fuel cells designed for portable equipment.
Defence departments across the globe are investing in research and development (R&D) to identify improved power source technology for use in military applications. These efforts are in response to the changing needs of advanced digital equipment. Fuel cells are currently a key focus of development for portable and handheld equipment as this lightweight technology offers significant benefits such as extended runtimes, simple "recharging" without the need for an auxiliary power unit and improved scalability.

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan, World Micro Fuel Cell Market for Military Man-portable Equipment, finds that the market is likely to witness a general ramp-up in penetration by 2010, which is then likely to increase rapidly by 2013, ultimately achieving approximately 119 million units shipped by 2013.

"Military portable devices demand a unique power source - one that can offer long runtimes, reliable start-up and operation, robust, simple and quick to recharge or replace, along with other key factors," notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Director Sara Bradford. "While primary lithium still remains a power source of choice for military devices, the logistical process for supplying and subsequent removal of used batteries is a challenge for military and defense departments across the globe."

Military battery suppliers are often challenged to fill orders and deliver batteries on time in the face of high demand in today's market. Micro fuel cells could be a viable replacement for lithium batteries in military applications as they have the potential to provide extended device runtimes and quick and simple refuelling options that minimise waste.

Despite the order fulfilment problems in the lithium battery market, micro fuel cells designed specifically for military usage still face competition from existing and well-established battery technologies like lithium/sulphur dioxide and other primary lithium battery chemistries. These proven traditional power sources have been used for several decades and have an established supply network in place. Moreover, suppliers have long-term contracts in place, which may potentially slow fuel cell advancement.

"There is growing demand for a next generation power source that can offer military operations with an advanced alternative or solution to the current issues surrounding the use of traditional battery chemistries," says Bradford. "In this regard, fuel cells offer several key benefits for military and defence users including silent operation, extended runtimes, minimal waste, quick refuel options, scalable solution and others."

Designing an adequate power source is a critical issue for the military. Identifying the right combination of technologies or advancing current development efforts is a key focus for the energy industry. Companies that spearhead contracts with defense departments and deliver technology milestones in a timely fashion will see success in the power source market.

World Micro Fuel Cell Market for Military Man-portable Equipment is part of the Power Supplies & Batteries Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: Primary Lithium Battery Market, Secondary Lithium ion Battery Market, Ultracapacitor Market, Zinc-air Battery Market, Lead Acid Battery Markets and others. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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