Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Can Solar be Tuff Enuff for Tactical?

To demonstrate progress and compliance with Federal clean energy mandates, DOD's got solar sprouting all over its facilities. But the operational side of the house, where we need to reduce fuel use for a bunch of core mission related reasons, has yet to benefit from this technology in any significant way.

Well, Wired's Danger Room folks report DARPA aims to change that, by investing in the University of Delaware's Low-Cost Lightweight Portable Photovoltaics (PoP) initiative:
DARPA wants the PoP program to yield solar cells that are more than just light and flexible — they should also be able to withstand dirt, rough handling and punctures, and be manufactured inexpensively.
The team is lead by Dr. Robert Birkmire, who, according to Wired ...
... is quick to point out, the cells DARPA's after will require some lofty innovation. Thin-film, flexible solar cells are a major priority for the military, because they can be applied onto almost everything — from tents to uniforms — and would minimize the number of generators and portable battery packs needed by troops in battle.
The full article is here. Here's hoping these guys make some serious progress ... and soon.

Song credit: soundtrack for this post provided by the Fabulous Thunderbirds - audio on Youtube.

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