In addition, DESC is working to commercialize discrete RFC (DRFC) systems for terrestrial back-up power applications. DESC's UNIGENREG
regenerative fuel cell is under development for telecommunications backup power systems as a replacement for valve regulated lead acid batteries and commercial generator sets. This back-up power system provides both ride-through capability and rapid response characteristics at a lower overall life cycle cost than conventional technology. A natural extension of back-up power is application in conjunction with inherently intermittent renewable energy sources. Additional massive undeveloped markets are emerging as the two billion inhabitants of the planet now without electricity move toward access to power. Small-scale power generation and/or storage will become another distributed technology analogous to cell phones for communications. Based on DESC's unique experience in commercializing PEM-based products, transitioning to military and civilian aerospace applications are important outcomes of this technology development effort. Civilian commercial derivatives of this technology would be enabling technology for airship-based telecommunications systems and reliable remote power applications. Impacts of this technology on military operations include enabling high altitude unmanned aerial vehicle operations and a variety of underwater vehicle operations, especially unmanned underwater vehicles. The similarity between the high altitude and undersea applications is that both require the storage of oxidant in addition to the storage of fuel. Pure oxygen capable fuel cells are a critical need for both operating environments. The high altitude UAV's can be used for missile defense, surveillance and communications. Undersea applications include long-term distributed data gathering with long endurance buoys, transport of special forces personnel, and mine neutralization among others.