Put a US Marine out in the field for any length of time and at some point he’s going to need to recharge the batteries on any number of devices essential to his role. Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Electronics Science and Technology Division are working to help the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) develop a new photovoltaic technology to meet just such a challenge.
“One of the most significant challenges currently facing the Marine Corps is the need to supply sufficient electricity to individual Marines in forward operating bases,” said Robert Walters, head of NRL Solid State Devices Branch. “Mobile photovoltaics are a technology that can address these needs by leveraging emerging, flexible, high efficiency photovoltaic technology.”
The use of renewable technologies on the battlefield could reduce the fuel consumed, per Marine, per day, by 50 percent, and reduce total weight of batteries carried by nearly 200 thousand pounds.
In collaboration with MicroLink Devices, Design Intelligence Incorporated, and the USMC Expeditionary Energy Office (E2O), the NRL have developed and prototyped a new photovoltaic system that is specifically designed to meet the needs of a US Marine.
“The mobile solar power (MSP) prototype, capitalizing on recent advances in solar cell technology that allow the manufacture of high-efficiency, flexible solar cells, consists of an array of single-junction solar cells with a power conditioning circuit that maximizes array power production and charges a standard, military issue, high capacity rechargeable lithium-ion battery (BB-2590).”
Source: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
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