Remember the carbon-graphite foam, lead acid 3D and 3D2 batteries we told you so much about a while back? Well, the U.S. Army likes what Firefly Energy has been doing with the batteries, and this week awarded the by Peoria, IL-based company $5 million to develop and manufacture the technology, according to Dan Green, who's connected to Firefly.
The Army wants the batteries for the "Silent Watch" reconnaissance program, which Green said "allows the military to watch the enemy undetected while inside ground combat vehicles." Green sent us a press release, which is available after the break, and we'll try to get an update from Firefly co-founder Mil Ovan on how the millions will change him help bring the battery to market.

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[Source: Dan Green / Tech Image for Firefly Energy]
U.S. Government Awards Firefly Energy Contract to Develop Battery for "Silent Watch" Program

Peoria, IL-based company receives $5 million to support military defense efforts

PEORIA, IL - March 5, 2007 - Following the awards in the Fiscal Year 2006 and 2007 Defense Bills, the federal government has executed a $5 million contract with Peoria, IL-based Firefly Energy to fund prototype development of its 3D and 3D2 advanced battery technologies to assist the nation's military defense efforts.

Specifically, the U.S. Army will assess Firefly Energy's carbon-graphite foam prototype batteries in a "Silent Watch" program, which allows the military to perform reconnaissance in ground combat vehicles without being detected by the enemy.

The goal of the Silent Watch program is to have enough electricity stored in a vehicle, so that it can run on silent watch for anywhere from four to 72 hours, while providing continuous power to operate equipment without rapidly degrading the life span for the battery, and leaving enough battery power to re-start the vehicle.

"We're enormously proud to have been awarded this U.S. Army contract", said Edward Williams, Firefly Energy CEO. "Our engineers are highly motivated to build prototype batteries that will stand-up to the challenges that these military vehicles face".

Prior battery tests conducted by the Army in Yuma , AZ , indicated a wide gap between requirements and the ability of current battery solutions (lead acid, nickel and lithium) to meet the needs of the program. Firefly Energy senior vice president and co-founder Mil Ovan says the Firefly Energy battery can fill that gap.

Ovan says that Firefly's carbon-graphite lead acid battery technology uses a three dimensional high surface area foam material that unleashes the high power potential of lead acid chemistry that was impossible in the past. "The porous and conductive nature of the battery enables faster, deeper and more reliable discharges and recharges; battery life is extended since sulfation is reduced; and the carbon-graphite foam makes the battery more environmentally friendly, and certainly less expensive than lithium and nickel battery chemistries," says Ovan.

The carbon-graphite foam also enables the battery to perform at cooler temperatures - a key feature considering that lead batteries lose as much as 50 percent of their useful life for every 15 degrees the temperature rises above 70-degrees Fahrenheit.

Firefly Energy will initiate the prototype battery development program at its facilities in Peoria , IL , where it currently employs 26 people, with plans to add staff throughout the year. In addition to the research, product development, and assembly of prototype batteries, a key battery component-the carbon-graphite foam plate-will also be made in the company's Peoria facilities. Since the battery technology can be both manufactured as well as recycled within the existing lead acid battery industry's vast infrastructure, the company will use manufacturing partners for final battery assembly.

"Firefly embodies the kind of innovative technology business that we are attracting to our area as we work to spur future growth and investment in our community", said U.S. Congressman Ray LaHood (R-IL).

In addition to using the funds to develop the carbon-graphite foam 3D Advanced Battery Technology, Firefly will also start development of its second generation carbon-graphite battery, coined the 3D2 ("3D-squared") battery, which will be used in future military applications.

"The Defense Department has recognized that Firefly's innovative technology can help the men and women serving our nation in the Middle East perform their missions more safely and efficiently", said U.S. Senator Richard Durbin. "I've been impressed with Firefly and the many applications of its technology. I believe that with pioneering companies like Firefly taking the lead, the U.S. will become better equipped to meet the challenge of a clean energy future."

About Firefly Energy, Inc.

Firefly Energy (www.fireflyenergy.com) is a Peoria, Illinois-based company which has developed a next generation lead acid battery technology that has the opportunity to address major portions of the $30 billion worldwide battery marketplace. Firefly's carbon-graphite foam-based battery technology can deliver a unique combination of high performance, extremely low weight and low cost, all in a battery which utilizes the best aspects of lead acid chemistry while overcoming the corrosive drawbacks of this same chemistry. This product technology delivers to battery markets a performance associated with advanced battery chemistries (Nickel Metal Hydride and Lithium), but for one-fifth the cost, and can be both manufactured as well as recycled within the existing lead acid battery industry's vast infrastructure. The company is backed by three multi-billion dollar product companies, and is headed by co-founders Edward Williams (CEO), Mil Ovan (Senior VP), and Kurtis Kelley (Chief Technology Officer). Investors include Caterpillar (www.cat.com) (NYSE: CAT), BAE Systems (www.baesystems.com) (London Stock Exchange over the counter symbol: BAESY), Chicago-area Venture Capital firm KB Partners (www.kbpartners.com), the State of Illinois ' Illinois Finance Authority, and Husqvarna (www.husqvarna.com). (Other OTC: HSQVY.PK).

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