Monday, 10 August 2009

Battery Free Soldiers Power their own Equipment

EPSRC funded research aims to capture energy in soldiers march and use it to power their equipment.

Engineers at the University of Leeds are developing a new system designed to convert foot power into battery power which could reduce the weight of troop’s packs by up to 10kg. The devices will use high tech piezoelectric transducers to convert mechanical stress into electricity.

The project has been developed to help address the needs of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Heavy packs which typically weigh as much as 75kg can severely limit a soldier’s mobility and lead to health problems.

Professor Andrew Bell, Director of the Institute for Materials Research who is leading the project at the University of Leeds says: “As well as the obvious green issue of using so many batteries, it could also significantly reduce a soldier’s pack weight. And this technology could potentially have lots of applications in civvy street too.”

The research project came about following an EPSRC Sandpit in April 2009 which considered the various problems faced by modern soldiers due to carrying heavy equipment such as batteries and telecommunications equipment. Participants of the Sandpit included chemists, electrical engineers, materials specialists, designers and energy experts. Serving soldiers were also involved to give first hand accounts of the problems they face.

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