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News | Nov. 2, 2023

Joint-Funded Hydrogen Fuel Cell on Full Display at Navy’s Climate Week NYC Event

By OSD Manufacturing Technology Program

Department of Defense officials showcased the Hydrogen – Small Unit Power Ruggedized Expeditionary Power Source (H-SUP) during Climate Week in New York City, which expands operational capabilities for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) while reducing the Department’s carbon footprint.

The H-SUP boasts no carbon emissions since its only waste products are heat and water, and is part of the Department’s drive to address climate threats. This joint program between the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’s Manufacturing Science and Technology Program (MSTP) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), is an example of coordination and collaboration within DoD to field technologies that address climate change while providing the Joint Force the tools to prevail in contested environments.

Climate Week NYC is the largest annual climate event of its kind, bringing together influential leaders in climate action from business, government, and civil society, in addition to the United Nations General Assembly. Each year, representatives of all ages and backgrounds from across the world gather to drive transition, speed up progress, and champion change.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, & Environment and Chief Sustainability Officer Meredith Berger hosted the Navy’s Climate Week NYC event, which welcomed JROTC Cadets and students from local high schools on the historic USS Intrepid to learn about DoD’s efforts to address climate change. Berger discussed the impacts of climate change on the future force, and how their dedication to service and academics, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), will be critical in future threat environments. Following Assistant Secretary Berger’s address, students and guests explored multiple alternative energy defense technologies, including the H-SUP.

U.S. Naval Research Lab’s (NRL’s) Kevin Cronin, the H-SUP project lead, showed students how the team developed the innovative fuel cell technology to generate portable small unit power from hydrogen. As part of the demonstration, volunteers took turns using the H-SUP to charge their phones, which underscored how DoD research and engineering often has social benefits beyond national security implications.  A static display of NRL's lightweight hydrogen fuel cell for UAVs provided a visual aid to explain the principles of fuel cell operation.