The team of DuPont/Smart Fuel Cell has won the Pentagon’s $1 million wearable power prize competition, the Department of Defense announced yesterday. Dupont/SFC was chosen from among the 169 entries by designing the lightest wearable system that provided an average of 20 watts of power for more than 96 hours and weighed less than 8.8 pounds, DOD said. DOD’s Research and Engineering Directorate launched this competition in July 2007 to spur innovation to help develop a long-endurance, lightweight power pack for warfighters in the field. The batteries that dismounted soldiers, marines, and battlefield airmen carry often amount to the heaviest portion of their combat kits. Lightening that load is a priority across DOD. “The real winners from this competition are our ground warfighters, as these systems show great promise to reduce the weight of batteries they have to carry while performing their critical missions,” said William Rees, deputy under secretary for defense laboratories and basic sciences. AMI of Ann Arbor, Mich., won the $500,000 second-place prize, and Jenny 600S of Middleburg, Va., won $250,000 for third place.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.