April 22, 2009 Soldiers operating in remote locations face a considerable heavy equipment burden, a significant proportion of which can be attributed to the need for a portable power supply. Fuel cells are seen as a key solution to this problem and the JENNY system, which has just been commercially released for defense applications by German mobile power application company SFC Smart Fuel Cell, promises to reduce weight by around 80% compared with lithium-ion batteries.

The JENNY Portable Fuel Cell is a compact, silent power supply worn on the body. Utilizing direct methanol technology, the JENNY works in conjunction with the SFC Power Manager, which works by supplying any electronic device with power from the Fuel Cell. It does this by automatically adapting the power and voltage, thereby allowing systems important to the successful operation of a mission to run for longer periods than traditionally allowed by batteries. The JENNY can supply 25W for up to 20 hours, and the technology has been successfully tested in actual missions by NATO over the past year.

The JENNY is around 80% lighter than the lithium-ion batteries more commonly used by soldiers and offers a smaller size which adds to their manoeuvrability. The fuel cell is largely undetectable due to a low surface temperature, and is environmentally friendly due to the fuel type used producing close to zero emissions. It is built to withstand temperatures of -4°F – 122°F, altitudes of up to 13,000ft, and can operate underwater.

SFC Smart Fuel Cell is a developer of mobile and off-grid power solutions. More information about its application of direct methanol technology can be found on the EFOY (Energy For You) website.

Mick Webb

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