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Alkali Fuel Cell History

photo of soldier using a fuel cell powered drill, about 1965.

A U.S. Army soldier operates a portable drill
powered by a fuel cell, about 1965.

Image #R7322 from the U.S. Army Mobility
Equipment Research and Development Center

Original U.S. Army caption:

"Power Plant of The Future...Today! - Fuel cells, which convert the chemical energy of the fuel directly into electrical power without the wasteful heat cycle required by internal combustion engines, are being developed at the U.S. Army Mobility Equipment Research and Development Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., to generate precise power and to propel vehicles. This 300-watt fuel cell can be used as an independent generator or battery charger, or plugged into the electrical system of a vehicle for use as an auxiliary power source, for operations requiring silence. A by-product of MERDC's research on hydrocarbon fuel cells, it uses hydrazine, which is similar to ammonia and supplied in dripless, self-sealing plastic throw-away bottles containing enough fuel for 12 hours of operation."

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