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Posted on Wed, Sep 2, 2009 : 5:33 p.m.

Alternative energy firm Adaptive Materials commercializes new fuel cell product

By Nathan Bomey

An Ann Arbor alternative energy company is introducing its strongest fuel cell power product for military and commercial applications.

Pittsfield Township-based Adaptive Materials is commercializing a 250-watt fuel cell system that uses widely available propane fuel to provide a lightweight power source in mobile applications.

The firm expects to provide three 250-watt systems to the U.S. military for field testing later this year, officials said. But the technology also has commercial applications.

Adaptive Materials already manufactures 50-watt and 180-watt fuel cell systems. The 250-watt version is two pounds and will provide 1,500 hours of power.

The firm’s technology provides an alternative to heavy batteries, which create a substantial burden for soldiers and unmanned aerial vehicles in military situations.

Perhaps most significant for Adaptive Materials is the commercial strategy for this product.

“Especially for people who enjoy going off-grid for camping, boating, hiking or other recreational activities, the 250-watt fuel cell is an ideal source of portable power,” Adaptive Materials co-founder and chief business officer Michelle Crumm said in a news release. “Lightweight and powered by the same propane as a camp stove or refrigerator makes Adaptive Materials’ fuel cell the logical choice for consumer power.”

The product comes as the company’s national profile is steadily rising. Crumm was nominated for Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of 2009 in the “established entrepreneur” category.

Contact’s Nathan Bomey at or (734) 623-2587 or follow him on Twitter.