Defense

Precision Combustion products in development offer high value-added features of special interest for defense applications:ultra-compactness, light weight, high reaction efficiency, and rapid transient response. These translate to smaller, more efficient, more responsive components that can help provide the Warfighter with better support systems for a mobile, rapidly-evolving environment. PCI is experienced in working with other participants in military systems development programs to produce effective integrated systems.

Military fuel cells offer major potential advantages across all services for applications involving air, sea and land. Electricity runs the advanced technical systems that support American tactical offensive and defensive military advantage. Powering the frontline requires fuel and a resulting major logistics effort to supply that fuel. DOD has identified small-scale, liquid logistics-fueled fuel cell systems as a potentially-attractive alternative to engine-driven generators, with resulting significant potential reduction in logistics fuel supply burden as well as improvements in mission capability, efficiency, maintenance and stealth. However, military use of fuel cells is currently limited by the inability to use available logistics fuels.

 

PCI's Microlith® Compact Logistics Fuel Processor® systems will enable military fuel cells to use available logistics fuels. Fuels tested to date include JP8, JP5 and F76, substantially broadening the potential use of efficient and quiet fuel cells on the battlefield. The ultra-compact, lightweight nature of our fuel processors also cascades into fuel cell design to enable the overall fuel cell system to become more compact and lightweight for easier use in a mobile environment. High conversion selectivity and low operating temperatures enable efficient operation with longer component life. The low thermal mass and rapid transient response of our fuel processors also offer more rapid system startup and load change. Modular design facilitates easier maintenance and parts logistics. Finally, Microlith structural assemblies are robust and suited for high stresses expected in military use. PCI is now developing Microlith fuel processors and processor components for a range of military applications, including for the U.S. Army and Navy, and for a wide range of fuel cell stack technologies.

PCI is also developing ultra-compact and lightweight anode gas oxidizers and start burners for fuel cell systems.

For military Stirling engines for kWe-range and lower power military APU and mobile power requirements, PCI is developing ultra-compact catalytic oxidation burners. PCI's Microlith® catalytic oxidation burners are ultra-compact and able to sustain combustion well outside normal flammability limits. We have developed burner systems that achieve targeted objectives, such as our recuperated Stirling engine burners that can completely burn JP8 while also achieving very high efficiency in transferring the heat to the Stirling acceptor head.

 

For military environmental air protection needs our Microlith® Air Cleaning systems offer opportunity for military air protection shelters, vehicles and other enclosed military spaces to achieve targeted levels of biological and chemical agent protection while using a compact, lightweight contaminant removal system that can be regenerable for maximum field maintenance flexibility. Originally developed with support from NASA for space station trace contaminant removal, PCI is now supporting military exploration of the approach for military requirements.

For military cookstove applications, current diffusion-flame JP8 burners have low efficiency and high emissions, entailing substantial logistics burden while limiting performance and potentially impairing soldier health. PCI is developing a flameless catalytic cookstove that offers substantially lower fuel consumption with quiet operation and clean emissions.

For high power density military IC engine applications, PCI is developing catalytic glow plugs under an Air Force SBIR PH II contract targeted for UAV and other engines for ignition assistance and improved operating stability using low cetane fuels. PCI's catalytic glow plugs require less energy and offer lower weight and higher durability solutions compared to spark ignitors or conventional glow