Wang Hosts Army Research Office Workshop

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) and the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC) recently hosted a two-day workshop sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO). Assistant Professor Chunsheng Wang (joint, ChBE and UMERC) organized the event.

The workshop, titled "Soldier-Portable Power Systems: Status Review and Research Needs," benefited research scientists and engineers who are developing Department of Defense-relevant materials, components, and processes for compact generators with a power range of 10W to 1kW. Attendees included system developers and integrators, and university and non-profit investigators working in the area of compact advanced energy conversion processes and systems. The workshop featured invited presentations, Q&A sessions, a poster session, and closed one-on-one meetings between power system developers and a panel of government personnel and workshop organizers to review the status of their power solutions. Topics included low- and high-temperature fuel cells and thermoelectric, photovoltaic, internal combustion and Sterling engines.

The Army's goal is to equip future soldiers with high-energy, compact power supplies that can be used to run the electronic instrumentation, computers, communication equipment, and other devices they carry into the field for up to a week. There is also a need for rechargeable battery-powered systems and portable chargers for them. The workshop provided representatives from industry, the Army, and research organizations to share what they have learned, the status of their projects, and the challenges they have encountered.

While within the past few years significant progress has been made in the development of materials, components, and sub-systems that will be required for the portable power generators and batteries of the future, scientists are still working to create solutions that are fieldable and can be mass-produced.

Published March 14, 2008