Two years ago, I wrote about what I described as the “electrification” of the soldier / operator. In that article, I spoke about the accelerating need to standardize power sources and distribution systems, so that soldiers can reduce or eliminate the plethora of batteries now carried in the field. The DoD has taken a two prong approach to resolving the power issues by standardizing on the AA battery, an approach that has had limited success, and funding renewable energy research.
The Australian National University’s Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems has developed Silver® cells that solve some of the more persistent solar cell problems. For example, the Silver® cells are bi-facial so the sun’s angle relative to the cell is not critical; the cell will operate illuminated on either side. The technology allows the fabrication of a very thin power cell matrix that when connected in series is capable of delivering high voltages; the material is so thin that it can be attached to fabric and easily worn.
If successful, Silver® cell technology could go a long way to alleviating some pressing power requirements.
Were I on the product development side, in businesses manufacturing combat uniforms, packs and other load bearing equipment, I would pay very close attention to what the Aussies are doing. It may prove to be a great opportunity for you.
Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems
email: CSES at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ph +61 2 6125 4884 Fax +61 2 6125 8873