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DARPA taps Maxwell for lighter radio energy source

Posted: 10 Jan 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:energy sources for portable radios  energy storage devices  portable radios 

Seeking to provide military personnel with lighter energy storage devices, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency recently signed a Rs.7.59 crore ($1.7 million) contract with Maxwell Technologies Inc. for the development of an advanced, more efficient energy source for portable radios.

The initial one-year phase of an eventual Rs.35.74 crore ($8 million) programme is targeting lighter, longer-lasting energy supply for field radios and other portable electronic equipment carried by military personnel.

Maxwell will lead a team including the U.S. Navy and the University of Massachusetts that is tasked with developing an energy storage device combining an advanced capacitor module, an advanced battery pack and power management electronics.

"This programme will further demonstrate the synergy between batteries and ultracapacitors, and, more importantly, lead to improved energy storage solutions to support the effectiveness and safety of our armed forces personnel," said David Schramm, Maxwell's president and CEO.

The goal of the programme is to develop an enhanced energy source that will provide extended run time and longer operational life than existing batteries alone, thereby reducing the requirement to carry heavy and bulky spare batteries.

To ensure that field military personnel are energy self-sufficient during extended missions, they typically carry primary and spare batteries weighing more than 27.3kg (60pounds) to power a growing assortment of portable electronic equipment.

Maxwell Technologies provides high-reliability energy storage and power delivery solutions for applications not only for the military but also for consumer and industrial electronics, automotive, transportation and telecommunications.

The San Diego, Calif.-based company was founded in 1965 as a provider of contract R&D services to various U.S. government agencies. It now generates virtually all of its revenue from sales of commercial products.

Research for developing printable storage devices is the next step to shrink the size and increase the efficiency of storage devices.

Nicolas Mokhoff
EE Times

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