Army’s ‘extreme batteries’ research center taps local experts

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is a leader in electrolyte chemistry used to make high energy dense batteries to develop new ways for U.S. land forces to store energy in an operational environment. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is a leader in electrolyte chemistry used to make high energy dense batteries to develop new ways for U.S. land forces to store energy in an operational environment. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

By Joyce P. Brayboy, U.S. Army Research Laboratory

  • ARL scientists are on a search for advanced battery chemistries.
  • The Army’s Center for Research in Extreme Batteries will host a meeting this spring for experts interested in taking part.

ADELPHI, Md. — The U.S. Army’s Center for Research in Extreme Batteries strengthens bonds between partners who want to solve practical battery problems.

Officials held the inaugural Power and Energy innovation workshop in 2014 to get local experts in batteries and materials talking, for an integrated, cross disciplinary look at challenges that may have solutions beneficial to all.

The workshop kicked off the Center for Research in Extreme Batteries as a regional hub in advancing battery chemistries with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, as the lead, and University of Maryland as the co-lead of the newly forming center.

Dr. Kang Xu, explained to the crowd of more than 100 leading experts from the local universities, government labs and industry that the ground forces reliance on energy in places beyond traditional grid access has led ARL scientists on a search for advanced battery chemistries that are beyond the expertise of government laboratories alone.

An expert in his own right, and best known in the field for his two comprehensive reviews on electrolyte materials, published at Chemical Reviews in 2004 and 2014, respectively, Xu asked the on-looking members of government, university and industry organizations for their help.

“In order for the real advances in energy storage technology to happen, a lot needs to be understood at fundamental levels, and we will have to extend the current expertise. It’s not enough to just have me or our other group members inside ARL. We will have to include a lot of other disciplines and form a team that is strongly associated by complementing expertises,” Xu said.

The concept of the center started with Xu and Dr. Chunsheng Wang, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering within the Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland, using their complementary experience in electrolytes and electrodes, respectively, to build up to advances in rechargeable batteries over the course of years. They co-authored a number of publications in scientific journals of high-impact numbers, and were funded by Department of Energy.

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RDECOM demonstrates advances in Army power, energy at Pentagon

Katherine Hammack (left), assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, talks with Robert Berlin, a mechanical engineer with RDECOM's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, in the Pentagon Courtyard Nov. 14.

Katherine Hammack (left), assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, talks with Robert Berlin, a mechanical engineer with RDECOM’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, in the Pentagon Courtyard Nov. 14.

WASHINGTON (Nov. 14, 2013) — The U.S. Army showcased how its research and engineering centers are enabling advances in operational energy for Soldiers Nov. 14 at the Pentagon.

Subject matter experts from across the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command discussed their work in technologies that included Soldier-borne electronics, ground-vehicle fuel efficiency and sustainable base camps.

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Energizing base camps of the future

Lt. Col. Ross Poppenberger, Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems (left), speaks with Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, about energy-efficient Rigid Wall Camps, during the Nov. 5, 2013,

Lt. Col. Ross Poppenberger, Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems (left), speaks with Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, about energy-efficient Rigid Wall Camps, during the Nov. 5, 2013, “Base Camp Resource and Energy Efficiency Day” at the Army Base Camp Integration Laboratory, Fort Devens, Mass. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. (Nov. 6, 2013) — Innovations meant to improve Soldiers’ quality of life during deployments — while saving lives, fuel, water and money — were on display here Nov. 5, at the Army Base Camp Integration Laboratory.

The Army Base Camp Integration Laboratory, or BCIL, hosted its second annual “Base Camp Resource and Energy Efficiency Day.” Situated on 10 acres at Fort Devens, the laboratory features two “Force Provider” 150-person base camps. One contains standard technologies; the other offers a glimpse into the Army’s energy future.

Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, and Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, Army deputy chief of staff, Logistics, were among those attending the event. They were briefed about shelters, power management, energy storage, waste disposal and waste-to-energy systems, alternative energy, micro-grids, energy-efficient structures, rigid-wall camps, and fuel-fired kitchens.

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STEM Starters: The World of Pressure

Diagram 1. Pressure in relation to airflow.

Diagram 1. Pressure in relation to airflow.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Nov. 8, 2013) — Most of us are more than accustomed to pressure, both in the scientific and human sense of the word. Many, however, do not equate the significance of pressure with everyday observations.

We all know about pressure’s relationship to weather patterns, bottle rockets, and air travel. Examples of pressure are not limited to these gaseous examples however. As you may remember from school, pressure is obtained by dividing a force by an applied area.

Example: The pressure you exert on the floor doubles as you switch from standing on two feet to one. It is much safer to peel an apple with a sharp knife rather than a dull knife because the sharp knife has a relatively smaller cutting surface area, thus increases the pressure applied to the apple per unit force. Being able to cut the apple with less force means a lower probability that one will slip with the knife.

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NSRDEC deploys energy-efficient tents for testing

A group of shelters were sent to the Southwest Asia Area of Responsibility to be tested by both the Army and Air Force recently as part of the

A group of shelters were sent to the Southwest Asia Area of Responsibility to be tested by both the Army and Air Force recently as part of the “Advanced, Energy-Efficient Shelter Systems for Contingency Basing and Other Applications” program. Tents were outfitted with advanced materials and other technology.

NATICK, Mass. (Oct. 29, 2013) — Wherever Soldiers go, shelters must go, too. These shelter systems must not only protect and provide comfort; they must also be as energy efficient as possible. Every time a base camp needs fuel delivered, that camp and its warfighters are exposed to vulnerabilities.

That’s why a group of shelters were sent to the Southwest Asia Area of Responsibility to be tested by both the Army and Air Force recently as part of the “Advanced, Energy-Efficient Shelter Systems for Contingency Basing and Other Applications” program.

“It’s not until you actually put it in an operational environment where you can really have a good assessment of what will work and what won’t work for the Army,” said Amy Klopotoski, contingency basing science and technology lead at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

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