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US Military Looking to Solar Power

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  • Green Bean
    http://www.news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=1991028 Move to Solar Power Soldiers By John von Radowitz. Science Correspondent, PA News Military chiefs are
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2003
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      http://www.news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=1991028

      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
      combat.

      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
      range finders.

      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
      years.

      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
      power."

      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.




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