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Army Seeking Energy Harvesters for Foot Soldiers and Squads

Setting up a field radio (U.S. Air Force)

(U.S. Air Force)

The U.S. Army’s Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Massachusetts wants ideas for energy sources that soldiers can carry around to power the sensors and other electronic devices needed to carry out their missions. The deadline for concept papers on this topic is 31 August.

The Natick center notes that the soldiers will need to carry out missions of at least 72 hours without returning to base, and cannot run the risk of losing power for those devices. Thus, the Army is interested in ideas for generating backup electrical power.

The announcement seeks “Novel concepts for Soldier-borne energy harvesting technologies, including but not limited to: kinetics-based, metabolic (i.e. body heat), solar, wind, and other novel energy conversion solutions ….” And the ideas submitted do not need to be completely new. Technologies that provide improvements in existing systems are also of interest.

The factors considered in evaluating the concept papers are the “weight, power density, and energy density of the proposed energy harvesting systems [that] will be compared with the conventional power solutions in field or in development ….” While weight is an key factor, the Natick center is willing to consider heavier solutions that provide unlimited power, compared to lighter battery-based power that may run out and result in dead weight for the soldiers.

The Natick center says the solicitation is a request for information and not a request for proposal, and thus incurs no obligation on the part of the government to any further action.

Hat tip: Earth Techling

Read more: Partnership To Advance Military Field Energy Sources

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