Conference brings together ARL and RDEC to showcase latest power and energy research

March 29, 2012

Story Highlights

  • 240 organizations participated in a recent energy summit.
  • Nations top companies and research organizations are transforming the Nation's energy economy.
  • ARL showcased hydrogen purification, M100 direct methanol fuel cell, Li-ion batteries, solar cell, flexible electronics, wearable power, iSCOUT ground sensor, methanol fuel cell element, and the SiC bidirectional fault protection module.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Researchers from across the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) showcased their technologies at the third annual Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) Innovation Summit held at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., Feb. 27-29.

More than 240 organizations participated in the energy summit. Participants included some of the Nation's top companies and research organizations who are transforming the Nation's energy economy.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's (ARL) technologies that were showcased included the palladium composite membrane for hydrogen purification, M100 direct methanol fuel cell, stable electrolyte for high-voltage Li-ion batteries, 32 percent efficient solar cell, flexible electronics, wearable power, iSCOUT ground sensor, methanol fuel cell element, and the SiC bidirectional fault protection module.

Damian Urciuoli from ARL, displayed a bidirectional solid-state circuit breaker (BDSSCB) power switch module.

"The hardware is a scalable configuration of silicon carbide transistors that is capable of providing fast fault protection for a wide range of systems, while having low loss relative to other semiconductor approaches," said Urciuoli. "It also offers higher reliability and longer operating life compared to present mechanical fault protection devices."

Two operational fuel cell systems from Smart Fuel Cell, the M100 and M25 direct methanol fuel cells for battery charging, were displayed by Zachary Dunbar from ARL, as well as the new palladium composite membrane technology for hydrogen purification of JP-8 reformate gases. Dunbar said the technology was developed internally at ARL.

The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) demonstrated several technologies. For example; the Soldier wearable integrated power system, which utilizes the MOLE vest and integrates force protection, electronics and communications equipment with advanced power sources, the rucksack enhanced portable power system, which is a lightweight, portable power system capable of recharging batteries and/or acting as a continuous power source, and a new line of USB based battery chargers for smart phones and tablets that utilizes military standard batteries, solar, vehicular as the main power source.

"CERDEC's Army Power Division, is developing safe, technically innovative and cost effective solutions to meet the Warfighter's portable and mobile power and energy needs today and into the future for all platforms: land, air and sea," said Rafael Casanova, CERDEC.

The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) displayed technologies that were representative of the munition power source for gun-fired munitions. The technologies included "thin film" thermal battery, supercapacitor, and applicable energy harvesting technologies.

"We have been developing and maturing these technologies so that they can potentially transition into applications and/or specific product for better performance, cost effectiveness, and reliability," said Hai-Long Nguyen, ARDEC.

Other RDECOM technologies included onboard vehicle power showcased by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Command (TARDEC). This technology allows efficient increased power production on a vehicle, and is an enabler for export power, electrified vehicle systems, increased fuel efficiency, and decreased logistics/sustainment.; and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center's (NSRDEC) wireless power transfer devices, photovoltaic solar share section and tent insulation samples.

The researchers who attended the event found it to be very beneficial, and a great venue to reach out to others in the energy community.

"Overall, the event was a good opportunity to interact with the energy community and look for new collaboration opportunities," said Dunbar.

ARL's Mark Wood expressed the importance of attending such an event.

"I felt the high level of interaction and the close paring some goals that the DoD {Department of Defense} and Army has with ARPA-E of DOE {Department of Energy}, that it is an important venue to support. There was much interest in Photovoltaic (PV) materials, higher energy density storage, and providing energy for tactical applications," said Wood.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: March 29, 2012