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Electronics & Test
Army Boosts Battery Power but Not Weight
6/20/2012

Kang Xu, an Army Research Laboratory scientist, is one of the inventors responsible for a 30-percent increase in energy density in lithium batteries. The work is part of ongoing research to increase the energy of batteries while lowering their weight, to reduce the burden soldiers carry in the field.   (Source: Army)
Kang Xu, an Army Research Laboratory scientist, is one of the inventors responsible for a 30-percent increase in energy density in lithium batteries. The work is part of ongoing research to increase the energy of batteries while lowering their weight, to reduce the burden soldiers carry in the field.
(Source: Army)

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Greg M. Jung
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Rechargable Batteries
Greg M. Jung   6/26/2012 9:44:29 PM
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I wasn't able to discern if these types of additives are also being tried on rechargeable battery technology too. (I'm sure experimentation is being done in this area also.)

robatnorcross
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Re: more power
robatnorcross   6/21/2012 8:34:56 PM
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If you add the "balance of plant" to the fuel cell i.e. air supply, fuel tank, pumps, valves, converters, inverters, etc. it isn't necessarily the most efficient source of power. The only reason that the shuttles, etc used them was due to the tons of H2 they had to have anyway for other things (like the big burner at the bottom).

The fuel cells only real advantage is that of being a battery that can be recharged instantly (assuming that their is a handy H2 source around your tent.

If you carry methanol the efficiency is a small fraction of that of a pure H2 cell. If you carry hydrogen it has to either be compressed (very low density storage), liquid (cryogenic problems) or hydride (weight problems).

Maybe solid oxide might work because it will run off most anything but operates at pretty high temps.

Jerry dycus
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Re: more power
Jerry dycus   6/21/2012 7:54:24 PM
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 Robat, a sniper left on a hilltop for days isn't a regular load.  But you make my point exactly that a generator is nessasary.  It's probably the best use of a foolcell as such low level power needs is easily done by a small 10-50 wt fuelcell like are available to power laptops.

Next a solar panel or small wind/rivergen weighing a lb or 2  could supply needed power. And can be made stealth.

If hiking or while sitting, a foot/leg, gravity, etc motion generator is doable.

The best way is reducing power needs by more eff equipment because like on the grid, the power you don't use is the cheapest of all.

And why are soldier carrying such loads degrading their performance?  Why not have hip hitched cart/packframe carrying it so the soldier doesn't have to hold up 100lbs they do too often, just pulling it instead. If it's a tent/bed made from kevlar it eliminates those and provides cover even when caught in the open at no extra weight.

robatnorcross
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Re: more power
robatnorcross   6/21/2012 7:30:07 PM
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As much as I would like to complain about govt. spending just may be Dr Xu has something.

I was told by an upper level DOE guy at their annual Fuel Cell Seminar a few years ago that the majority of the weight that soldiers carry IS batteries. The next item is food and water. If for example a sniper in Afganistan has to sit on top of a mountain for a few days he needs power for his radios, night vision, etc. A generator is a problem because most technologies make noise when they are operating. Even a fuel cell needs plumbing, fans, etc that are a problem to design to be absolutely silent.

Battar
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Working on patents?
Battar   6/21/2012 9:23:59 AM
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Army research scientists are working on patents for this? Does this mean that the US government will license the technology for civillian applications, or that non-US military contract manufacturers can just forget it?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: more power
Rob Spiegel   6/20/2012 3:00:58 PM
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Here's another example of the military developing technology that also applies to the civilian world. It's also good to see the researchers are working to improve power without adding more weight.

Jerry dycus
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more power
Jerry dycus   6/20/2012 7:59:51 AM
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          While this is very good news it's exaggerated a fair amount it seems.  Running present Li batts at 4+ volts will destroy their life if charged above that much and left there.

             Calling them by their max charge voltage vs actual load voltage isn't fair. Most li load voltages are 3.2-3.7 depending on version.

            Plus once the battery is under load the voltage will drop 15-20% or so.  I'd like some more data to see just how good it is under load and load/.voltage curves, etc so one can properly evaluate it.

           I also don't believe the 30lbs of batteries regular soldiers carry is true.   If it is one would be far better off carrying a generator of some type instead.

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