COLLEGE'S WORK COULD HELP MILITARY, LOCAL ECONOMY; University of North Florida's Project Also Could Earn the School a Higher Profile in Research

By Coleman, Matt | The Florida Times Union, July 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

COLLEGE'S WORK COULD HELP MILITARY, LOCAL ECONOMY; University of North Florida's Project Also Could Earn the School a Higher Profile in Research


Coleman, Matt, The Florida Times Union


Byline: MATT COLEMAN

The University of North Florida isn't the state's dominant research institute. Boosters from the University of Florida and Florida State University are locked in a back-and-forth tussle for that crown.

But administrators from the Jacksonville college think one of the school's ongoing development projects could be the ticket to a higher statewide profile, more recognition in the research community and a bevy of jobs centered in Northeast Florida.

The college's school of engineering has received a combined $9.4 million in federal contracts from the Army and Department of Energy for a fuel cell research project that's scheduled to run for at least the next two years.

The research has two goals: Develop and then commercialize a direct methanol fuel cell power source for two laptops - one for American soldiers, the other for ordinary consumers.

It's the highest-funded project in the school's history.

Imeh D. Ebong, UNF's assistant vice president for research, said the practical applications of the research could lead to a number of patents and a sizable financial boon.

"It's not on the level of a research project like Gatorade at UF where everyone will use it," Ebong said. "It's a little more precise. But, in another way, it could be our Gatorade because it will be the most high-profile product UNF has ever developed - something that people will naturally link to the school."

Jim Fletcher, a UNF mechanical engineering professor leading the research, said the project has evolved since its inception in 2007 from a commercially focused project to one with military ties.

The end goal was always to create a methanol-based energy source for portable electronics that runs longer, weighs less and uses fewer heavy metals than the average battery.

Michael Dominick, a mechanical engineer and the Army's technical lead for the fuel cell research, said the military identified the potential field application of the UNF project and commissioned the school to create a military version.

Soldiers in the field are forced to lug laptops with cumbersome battery packs that need to be charged regularly. The research's aim is to give them true wireless connectivity and almost 10 hours of uninterrupted power.

"Laptops must be charged with grid power, which isn't available in the field," Dominick said. "With the methanol fuel cells, they wouldn't have to come back from the field to the operating base to recharge."

Fletcher has a team of about a half-dozen graduate students testing different design elements to streamline the military prototype and make the fuel cell cartridges smaller and more rugged.

They've dropped them, heated them up and run them through a gamut of tests to simulate combat conditions.

"We're throwing everything we can think of at it," Fletcher said.

Jason Harrington, 26, a University of Florida graduate student, is working with Fletcher. He graduated from UNF and was offered a unique opportunity to stay at his alma mater and continue his research. Even though UNF doesn't have a master's program in mechanical engineering, Harrington said the fuel cell research is as cutting-edge as any project in Gainesville.

"It made my choice a lot easier when I found a way to stay here and continue the work," he said. "We're close to finishing, and I didn't want to give this up."

Fletcher said the research is approaching its last phase, which involves even more field tests before submitting a final product for review. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

COLLEGE'S WORK COULD HELP MILITARY, LOCAL ECONOMY; University of North Florida's Project Also Could Earn the School a Higher Profile in Research
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.