Kang Xu, one of the people behind the innovation (US Army)
Researchers from the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) have recently announced that they are able to generate more power from batteries through new design processes and materials. This small group of researchers are tasked with providing soldiers with power solutions that are both lightweight and energy efficient. Soldiers are being increasingly burdened with more technology everyday (communications, laser designators, NVG’s, etc.), and this requires them to carry a significant amount of batteries along with the 30 to 70Lbs worth of gear. The researchers developed their new lithium battery technology that provides 30% more power using what they call a ‘sacrificial additive’ that was developed a few years ago by US Army researchers Dr. Kang Xu and Dr. Arthur Cresce. The additive is an electrolyte made from a highly fluorinated phosphate ester structure. Their electrolyte additive bonds with the batteries cathode surface (carbonate-based electrolytes) which creates a stable interface that enables the battery to operate at 5 volts, which would be a first for single-cell battery solutions. The ARL researchers state that this new battery technology is just one advancement for the soldiers and that they’re looking towards the future with developments in ‘ubiquitous energy’ resources that would provide power through ‘indigenous sources’ such as making fuel from water (separating the hydrogen from water). Despite power saving schemes, the most popular operating voltage still sits at 5V. This battery will be welcomes with open arms.