DuPont, German company win lightweight battery contest

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The partnership of DuPont and SFC Smart Fuel Cells AG of Germany won a Defense Department competition on Saturday to develop an ultralightweight portable battery that ground troops could use to power high-tech devices they need in battle.

The team, which took home a $1 million prize, adapted SFC’s commercial methanol-based fuel cell that is used to provide power for recreational vehicles to meet the requirements Defense had set for the competition. The team reduced the size of its fuel cell by more than half, down to a package that was not much bigger than a box for a fancy ink pen, which can easily fit into a military field vest, said team leader Mark Baunchalk.

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