Okay, I’ll admit this is a stretch from the usual talk about hydrogen cars and vehicles. Let’s chalk this one up to “hydrogen transportation” or at least “hydrogen assisted transportation”.
In the past, I’ve talked about the Honda ASIMO robot powered by fuel cell and a bionic arm powered by hydrogen peroxide. So, now when I’m talking about powering the military’s new HULC robotic exoskeleton with hydrogen fuel cell instead of lithium ion batteries it isn’t quite as big of a stretch as it may at first seem.
This becomes quite obvious once you watch this video of the un-tethered hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton that a soldier straps onto his back, legs and feet that will help him run faster (7mph – 10mph) for long distances, carrying a 200 lb payload on his back.
The hydrogen fuel cell supplies power to the hydraulics which assists soldiers in running and using equipment (such as for communications) they are packing for up to 72 hours, far exceeding the energy that lithium ion batteries provide and at less weight.
Popular Mechanics even weighs in on the comparison of the science behind the development of the U. S. military exoskeleton suits and those used in the movie, Avatar. Lockheed Martin has chosen the Protonex Technology Corporation to develop the HULC robotic exoskeleton for the U. S. military.
Once again, science fiction is becoming science and hydrogen-powered transportation is being commercialized and may become mainstream in a very short timeframe in the future.