Army

June 7, 2012

Army scientists energize battery research

Story and photo by David McNally
RDECOM Public Affairs

Kang Xu, an Army Research Laboratory scientist, is one of the inventors responsible for a 30-percent increase in energy density in lithium batteries.

ADELPHI, Md. — Army scientists are squeezing more power from batteries by developing new methods and materials with incredible results.

“Our battery group has recently developed some new materials that could potentially increase the energy density of batteries by 30 percent,” said Cynthia Lundgren, electrochemical branch chief at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

This small group of scientists work on energy and power solutions for America’s Soldiers.

“This 30 percent is actually quite a big deal. Typically improvements range about one percent a year with a few step changes,” Lundgren said.

For years, researchers studied how batteries work. They looked at how each component reacts with another. At high voltages batteries are extremely energetic systems.

“There has never been a battery, a single cell, that operated at five volts,” Lundgren explained. “Through our understanding of that interface, we were able to design an additive that you add into the electrolyte that is somewhat of a sacrificial agent. It preferentially reacts with the electrode and forms a stable interface. Now the battery is able to operate at five volts.”

Scientists are calling the additive a major step forward. Since Army researchers Kang Xu and Arthur Cresce designed the substance two years ago, the lab has filed patent applications.

“This is what you would call a quantum leap,” Cresce said. “We’ve gone from circling around a certain type of four-volt energy for quite a while. All of a sudden a whole new class of batteries and voltages are open to us. The door is open that was closed before.”

Army research has the potential to reduce battery weight and allow Soldiers to carry more ammunition or water.

“Our goal is to make things easier for the Soldier,” Lundgren said. “This research started because of the Army’s unique needs. There is a huge investment in batteries.”

In the future, Lundgren hopes they just don’t make better materials, but rather design new types of energy devices undreamt of today.

“We’re looking at designing systems to allow for ubiquitous energy — energy anywhere for the Soldier using indigenous sources,” Lundgren said. “Some of our new programs are looking at how we may make fuel out of water. For instance, can we split water and make hydrogen to be used as fuel in a fuel cell or small engine?”

Lundgren said future advances will occur with the right resources.

“The laboratory gives us really good resources, but our highest value resource is our scientists,” she said. “We have an exceptional group of scientists here. We’ve been able to retain them. They have been sought after by many people. But, they’re ability to do good research here, research that can make a difference has allowed us to attract and retain really top talent.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Natalie Lakosil

USAG welcomed its new command sergeant major Wednesday

Natalie Lakosil Col. Thomas A. Boone, U.S. Army Garrison commander, right, passes the noncommissioned officers’ sword symbolizing the change of responsibility for USAG to the incoming USAG command sergeant major, Command Sgt....
 
 
Courtesy Photo

JITC gains new senior enlisted leader, one retires

Courtesy Photo From left, Sgt. Maj. Lewis Brown, outgoing senior enlisted leader for the Joint Interoperability Test Command, stands with Sgt. Maj. Antonio Vizcarrondo, U.S. Marine Corps, senior enlisted advisor for the Defense...
 
 
D. Myles Cullen, DOD

Dempsey emphasizes trust at West Point graduation

D. Myles Cullen, DOD Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Saturday. WEST POINT, N.Y. — The chairman of the Joint Chief...
 

 
Natalie Lakosil

Change of responsibility brings new MI Corps chief warrant officer

Natalie Lakosil From left, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Fairley, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence; outgoing Chief Warrant Officer of the Military Intelligence Corps, Joe Okabayashi, chief warrant officer 5; Maj. Gen. Ro...
 
 
Natalie Lakosil

TRADOC Army Reserve Instructor of Year awarded at Fort Huachuca

Natalie Lakosil From left, Brig, Gen. Jason Walrath, 100th Division, and Maj. Gen. A.C. Roper, commanding general of the 80th Training Command, pose for a photograph with U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Army Reserves In...
 
 
Transition-Assistance-Program

Soldier Life Cycle — three phases help with transition

Transitioning from the military takes time, and unfortunately most Service members run out of time by the end of their career. The Department of the Army established the Solider Life Cycle, SLC, to help. The three phases of the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin