The average soldier carries roughly 80 pounds of batteries with them. That's like lugging a fifth grader through the desert.
Adaptive Materials Inc.
, hopes to change that. Their fuel cell technology only weighs a few pounds --say, the difference between that fifth grader and, oh, a squirrel-- which can mean a world of difference to a soldier in combat.
The company deals in solid oxide fuel cells. Basically, cells powered by the propane tanks you'd see on a Coleman camping stove or heater. And, besides that, there are three other points that make these fuel cells attractive.
"They are quiet, clean, and can be as low as two dollars," Jennifer Cornell, publicist for Adaptive Materials, says.
The fuel cells are currently being developed for the military but Cornell says AMI will soon start a campaign to aggressively bring this technology to the commercial market.
Right now the fuel cells can be found in unmanned aerial vehicles (spy planes), other robot-type contraptions, and computer devices used by the military. However, by the end of the year, Cornell explains, AMI hopes to have their technology in RVs and yachts.
Not surprisingly, with such interest in their lightweight, inexpensive, silent, and clean product, Adaptive Materials has seen massive growth. The company has gone from 20 employees to just over 60 in about a year.
"They are kind of a celebrity company around (Ann Arbor) these days," says Diane Durance, executive director of the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest
, an organization that recognizes and awards emerging businesses and ideas for potential businesses in Michigan.
Adaptive Materials, in fact, won GLEQ's grand prize back in 2003. (They were also named to Inc. Magazine's top 5000 fastest growing companies and ranked No. 28 in Inc.'s top 100 Energy Companies, while their co-founders, husband and wife Aaron and Michelle Crumm, have won a few awards in their own right.)
On top of Adaptive Materials explosive growth, the company is looking to add another 30 employees before the year is out to fill their new building. The company grew out of their original home – relocating to a facility in Pittsfield Twp. that better suits their needs.
"Our old building didn't accommodate manufacturing," Cornell says. "Before we could only research, now we are manufacturing it."
Source: Jennifer Cornell, publicist for Adaptive Materials Inc.Writer: Terry Parris, Jr.