Posting in Energy
Maxwell Technologies receives DARPA award to create a lighter, longer-lasting battery pack for the U.S. soldier on the go.
The U.S. military has been on a mission to give more energy independence to our troops—more freedom from dangerous fuel runs and bulky generators. Solar power, perhaps even with tents, could help, but how about storage and the burden of heavy battery packs?
DARPA (U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) awarded Maxwell Technologies a $1.7 million contract to address just that. The company announced last week they will work with the U.S. Navy and the University of Massachusetts to create an energy storage device that is a cross between a battery and ultracapacitor.
Ultracapacitors can quickly take in and release a charge, and can be charged many times over again, with much longer lifecycles than lithium-ion batteries. But they can't hold as much energy (only about 5 percent as much as batteries). The project will be to combine an advanced capacitor module, battery pack, and power management electronics into one lightweight device.
David Schramm, Maxwell's president, said in a statement:
This program will further demonstrate the synergy between batteries and ultracapacitors, and, more importantly, lead to improved energy storage solutions to support the effectiveness and safety of our armed forces personnel.
According to Maxwell, soldiers often carry more than 60 pounds of batteries to power radios, night vision goggles, computers and other portable electronic equipment. A hybrid ultracapacitor would be smaller, lighter and be able to withstand more extreme environmental conditions. Currently, however, hybrid ultracaps can't power electronics nearly as long as batteries.
The first phase of the project will last about a year, after which DARPA may provide an additional $8 million for further develop the device.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- US Army finds energy independence in their tents
- How the Iraq War made the US military greener
- Bringing solar power technology to the military
- Marines to perform reconnaissance for solar in Afghanistan
- Charge! Outfitting the military with clothing that serves as a battery pack
Image: Maxwell Technologies
Jan 9, 2011
Well, they aren't really that silly when you think about it...you can charge them up in almost the blink of an eye compared to normal batteries. That could be a matter between life and death for a soldier who, for example, can't simply replace the battery in their radio or night-vision goggles. Still, ultracapacitors as a replacement to batteries is a long way off...
Hmmm. Capacitors are kind of silly for low amperage devices like radios and whatnot. The primary military application of ultracapacitors is to power rail guns. Current rail gun tech is aimed at tanks, artillery and naval guns, but this news causes one to wonder if man-portable rail guns might also be in the works....