If you needed further proof that fuel cells still aren’t ready for mainstream consumer electronics, here you go: Silicon Valley fuel cell maker Jadoo Power has revamped its business to focus on Uncle Sam. The company, which makes a fuel cell in the 50-watt-to-2-kilowatt range that use ammonia borane as a fuel source, tells us it’s now focusing the bulk of its current efforts on military applications like powering radios for soldiers in the field.
The switch to powering more soldiers came late last year when the company raised $6.5 million in equity and debt conversion; before that Jadoo had raised a little over $20 million. The move also coincided with Jadoo bringing in its third CEO in less than a year. (Usually not a good sign).
Hopefully the changes will help Jadoo both get on track (in the eyes of its investors) and win over new customers. We talked with the company’s latest CEO (appointed in January), Leonard Devanna, who told us Jadoo will focus 80 percent of its efforts on the military. It already has partnerships with military contractors like General Atomics, Devanna said.
Military applications are a good fit for Jadoo’s fuel cells, as the military is looking to reduce the weight of the equipment carried by soldiers. Devanna says that while soldiers can typically carry north of 50 pounds of battery weight, fuel cells can bring that weight to under 20 pounds.
After the company expands into the military market, it hopes to then focus more on industries like health care, consumer electronics, and telecom. Devanna says Jadoo hopes that within two to three years, just half of its business will be military applications. Given that fuel cells have been taking many years and major funding to get products to market, we’ll see if that time frame is a reasonable one to expect to see Jadoo’s goods in more everyday use — i.e. off the battlefield.
Photo courtesy of Jadoo.