US Military Looking to Solar Power
Move to Solar Power Soldiers
By John von Radowitz. Science Correspondent, PA News
Military chiefs are developing a new "light infantry"
that marches with the help of solar power.
The US Army is funding the system to reduce the number
of cumbersome batteries soldiers need to carry into
In future, troops may wear lightweight plastic solar
panels that turn sunshine into electrical power woven
into their uniforms.
The invention uses a special flexible material coated
with a film of power-generating particles.
It is more sensitive than conventional solar cells,
and able to convert indoor artificial lighting into
energy as well as sunlight.
Modern soldiers are becoming increasingly dependent on
batteries to power the large amount of portable
equipment they take into battle.
Typically this includes communications equipment,
satellite positioning devices, and combat aids such as
Military experts are concerned both by the weight of
the batteries, and the need to rely on a power source
to recharge them.
If tests of the prototype solar cells prove
successful, they could enter service within three
Reporting on the development, The Engineer magazine
said: "The US Army eventually hopes to use solar cells
to make each soldier self-sufficient for electrical
Konarka, the Massachusetts-based designers, said
ultimately it may be possible to incorporate
ultra-thin solar cells into soldiers' uniforms.
The company is also developing a wide range of
civilian applications for the technology.
All-Energy News and Discussion
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