LITTLETON, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Versa Power Systems, Inc., a leading developer of environmentally friendly, high-power solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), today announced its selection as one of the key suppliers to The Boeing Co. under a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to develop and fly a very long endurance unmanned aircraft.
The technology will enable an aircraft to remain on station at stratospheric altitudes for at least five years, will perform persistent communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions from altitudes above 60,000 feet. In the project, DARPA’s Vulture program, Boeing pairs Versa Power’s specialized solid state SOFC technology with solar equipment that together serve as the aircraft’s on-board source of electricity. Combining a fuel cell with solar power provides continuous energy, making long-term propulsion and flight operations possible.
During the project’s next phase, Versa Power will engineer and scale up its technology for an SOFC-based energy storage and power generation system to be incorporated in a demonstrator version of the SolarEagle, Boeing’s name for the demonstrator aircraft. It is slated to remain aloft in the upper atmosphere for a minimum of 30 days.
Versa Power’s work to adapt its SOFC fuel cell designs was funded in part under a US Department of Energy initiative to hasten introduction of green technologies enabling solar and wind installations (renewable but intermittent sources of electricity) to produce energy on a continuous basis.
“We expect this technology to have a number of applications as more and more forms of alternative energy come on line in society,” said Bob Stokes, the firm’s CEO. “Any time intermittent power like wind or solar are involved -- when the sun sets or the wind dies down -- there is an opportunity for fuel cells to balance out the power and provide electricity.”
About Versa Power Systems
Versa (www.versa-power.com) is a premier developer of environmentally friendly solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), a clean-tech source of power to generate electricity for a range of applications. SOFC systems operate at very high efficiency with virtually no emissions, making them valuable in conserving natural resources and mitigating energy production’s impact on the ecosystem. Headquartered in Littleton, Colo., the company has built systems integral to research projects conducted by partners that range from industrial concerns (Cummins Power Generation and FuelCell Energy), to government agencies (the US Departments of Energy and Defense) and associations focused on energy research (EPRI and GTI). Approved for public release, distribution unlimited [DISTAR Case 16643].