RENEWS will act as a standalone power system for communications and can power two or three laptops continuously, as long as electricity is generated by its renewable energy source. (Source: US Army RDECOM)
Given its relatively heavy weight, I'm assuming this design isn't meant to be carried around by soldiers in the field, but rather, to man some remote field station. Looking at the pic, (which is hard to interpret BTW), got me thinking that this looks a lot like fabric, maybe not for uniforms, but for a tent or some other mobile structure. That got me thinking why couldn't clothing or canvas be the so-called "canvas" for a renewable energy source???
It's good to know the military is investigating portable renewable energy sources. This may help speed development of same in the commercial sector. Regarding energy harvesting materials, like clothing, several fabrics are in R&D, such as PowerFelt http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=239901 but they don't yet produce enough for portable electronic systems such as those soldiers use. These systems Elizabeth's article describes look to be a big improvement.
I agree, Chas, Chas. For a couple decades now, the military has been getting smarter and smarter about its technology. I have a nephew who was in a tank in Iraq. I asked what it was like inside the tank. He said he spent his time inside the tank sitting in front of a computer screen.
I agree, Rob, the idea of renewable energy breakthroughs coming from the military does seem improbable, at least historically. But so did a Global Information Grid based on commercial comms technology, and portable electronics based on commercial technology platforms, yet in recent years both have happened (and a lot more). I don't know why the shift occurred, but I wonder if, in part, it was a generational change at the management level, as has occurred in industry.
That's a pretty good guess about a generational change, Ann. That's happening in corporations as well. An army of 40-something men and women are taking leadership roles in renewable energy and sustainability programs in corporations. Looks like the same thing is happening in the military. This generation cut its teeth on Earth Day teachings in elementary school during the 70s.
First point: The military doesn't need more damned acronyms.
Second: I noticed that this was PART of the stimulus act which proves that it's another waste of money.
Third: What the hell does the military need with "envinromentally friendly" things. When I was in the Navy the very purpose of our toys was to kill people and break things on a large scale. Also don't you get lead poisoning from the bullets they just shot you with?
Fourth (and most important): YOUR HAULING AROUND 100 lbs of stuff to power TWO laptops. Seems to me that the fuel consumption required to run an Army tank would make the energy consumption of the TWO LAPTOPS look not to impressive.
...and if the Tank runs out of fuel the laptops probably won't do you much good because you just blew up the Wi-Fi hot spot that could have called for more diesel.
I was thinking the same thing. Has our leadership gone mad? The army, navy and air force are assigned the difficult task of killing enemy troops- not following failed agendas of the left. 1 in 46 supply trucks doesn't make it? That is nearly 97% do. In any war that is pretty good odds.
Plus, you waste two men carrying a lousy few hundred watt-hours of power? Let them carry the same in gasoline or diesel and you have a lot more power to do a lot more things.
But I do admit, that same power for communications would be useful. But laptops? Really? But I guess video games are as important as bullets.
Needs of the Army has given us some great things. Supposedly nylon (polyamide) was developed as synthetic fibers for bomb sights in WWII airplanes. Now nylon is everywhere. If the Army can develop a technology that can generate green electricity in remote locations, there is high potential for commercial applications.
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