BAE Systems is developing the patented technology to lighten the load of soldiers who currently operate carrying up to 76kg of kit each mostly made up of electrical equipment for communicating and signaling, which can adversely affect the soldier’s mobility and speed of movement.
This new technology stores the electrical energy within the physical structure of a device – reducing or eliminating the need for traditional batteries. This could represent a significant reduction in weight, bulk as well as minimising the burden and cost of carrying spares.
While the benefits to the defence sector have already been demonstrated in a high-tech micro unmanned air vehicle and a rudimentary torch, the technology is also being applied beyond the battlefield.
Through a partnership with leading race car manufacturer Lola, the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV, zero emission 850 horsepower Le Mans Prototype car will incorporate structural batteries to power some of the on-board electronic systems. Upon completion, the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV aims to become the world’s fastest electric racing car.
Alex Parfitt, Capability Technology Leader for Materials at BAE Systems said: “Structural batteries can be used in virtually anything that requires electricity from small gadgets to entire vehicles. It can not only support our soldiers on the frontline, but also revolutionise technology in the consumer market by allowing more efficient, elegant and lighter designs.”
To develop the technology, BAE Systems scientists merged battery chemistries into composite materials that can be moulded into complex 3D shapes and form the structure of the device itself. This structure can then be plugged in when it needs recharging or can utilise renewable power sources, such as solar energy.
Alex Parfitt added: “The process makes use of nickel-based battery chemistries, which are commonly used in defence technology but we are now exploring the integration of Li-ion and Li-Polymer chemistries which are found in consumer electronic products such as mobile phones, MP3 players, laptops, tablets and portable games. This could create unique opportunities for improved product designs, eliminate the cost of replacing batteries and provide far reaching environmental benefits.”
Current developments have demonstrated the ability to store useful energy in composites such as carbon fibre and glass reinforced plastic, but in the future energy storage could also be incorporated into the fabric for a wide range of lightweight applications, from tents with their own power supply to electric blankets becoming a literal reality.
For more information, please contact:
Adam Rang, Mischief PR
Mob: +44 (0) 777 333 4797
Nick Haigh, BAE Systems
Mob: +44 (0) 7525 390982
BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384719 Media Hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 717739