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Archive for the ‘Power’ Category

The Air Force Partners with Twelve, Proves it’s Possible to Make Jet Fuel Out of Thin Air

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) —  

What if you could access fuel from anywhere on the planet, at any time, no tanker required? The Air Force thinks it’s possible with ground-breaking carbon transformation technology.

Separate from carbon capture and storage or carbon utilization, carbon transformation can turn carbon dioxide from the air into nearly any chemical, material, or fuel, including jet fuel.

In 2020, Air Force Operational Energy endorsed the carbon transformation company, Twelve, to launch a pilot program to demonstrate that their proprietary technology could convert CO2 into operationally viable aviation fuel called E-Jet.

The project hit a major milestone in August of this year when Twelve successfully produced jet fuel from CO2, proving the process worked and setting up the conditions to create the synthetic carbon-neutral fuel in larger quantities. The first phase of the project is scheduled to conclude in December with a report detailing the process and findings.

For the Air Force, the implications of this innovation could be profound. Initial testing shows that the system is highly deployable and scalable, enabling the warfighter to access synthetic fuel from anywhere in the world. Reliable access to energy and fuel is paramount to military operations. Recent joint wargaming and operational exercises have underlined the significant risk that transporting, storing, and delivering fuel poses to troops – both at home and abroad.

At the height of the war in Afghanistan, attacks on fuel and water convoys accounted for more than 30% of casualties. Yet, fuel demand is only expected to increase as advanced weapon systems and operations require increasing levels of power.

“History has taught us that our logistics supply chains are one of the first things the enemy attacks. As peer-adversaries pose more and more of a threat, what we do to reduce our fuel and logistics demand will be critical to avoid risk and win any potential war,” said Roberto Guerrero, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for operational energy.

Currently, the Department of the Air Force relies on commercial fuel to operate, both domestically and abroad. The Air Force must use a combination of trucks, aircraft, and ships to ensure fuel is delivered to meet warfighter demand. However, many areas of operation cannot always easily reach traditional access points of the supply chain, particularly during conflict.

Twelve’s carbon transformation platform could allow deployed units to create fuel on demand, without the need for highly skilled fuel experts on site. The Air Force sees the opportunity for the technology to provide a supplemental source to petroleum-based fuels to decrease demand in areas that are typically difficult to deliver fuel to.

“With carbon transformation, we are untethering aviation from petroleum supply chains. The Air Force has been a strong partner in our work to advance innovative new sources of aviation fuel,” said Nicholas Flanders, Twelve co-founder and CEO.

Most synthetic fuels, which are created by a mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen known as syngas, are produced through burning biomass, coal, or natural gas. Twelve’s technology eliminates the need for fossil fuels, producing syngas by recycling CO2 captured from the air and – using only water and renewable power as inputs – transforming the CO2.

The process of converting syngas into liquid hydrocarbon fuels is not new. Known as Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, the multistep method was created in the 1920s by German scientists and aided the German war effort during World War II.

Today, it is widely used to produce liquid fuels for transportation. Fischer-Tropsch certified synthetic fuels are approved as a ‘drop-in’ fuel for each specific aircraft, first commercially, and then by the U.S. military and the aircraft’s associated system program office. The highest blend currently certified is a 50/50 blend of FT synthetic fuel and petroleum fuel. Twelve’s system produced FT-Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene, which can be blended with petroleum – up to a maximum blend of 50%.

Once the first phase of the program concludes at the end of 2021, the Air Force Operational Energy office will look to the next phase of scaling the technology to produce synthetic fuel in larger quantities. If brought to scale, the platform would enable more agile operations and decrease dependence on foreign oil, while having the added benefit of mitigating carbon emissions – a Department of Defense key priority under Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III.

While there remain a number of unanswered questions to make this technology operational, such as how to power the production of the syngas in remote areas and where water sources for the necessary hydrogen will come from (Twelve notes that water for the process can also be captured from the air), the team sees this is a positive first step in a truly innovative program.

“My office is looking at a number of initiatives to not only optimize aviation fuel use for improved combat capability, but to reduce the logistics burden as well,” Guerrero said. “We’re excited about the potential of carbon transformation to support this effort and Twelve’s technology – as one of the tools in our toolbox – could help us get there.”

By Corrie Poland, Air Force Operational Energy

AUSA 21 – EXO Charge

Friday, October 15th, 2021

We caught up with EXO Charge at AUSA and they showed us their Small Tactical Universal Battery.

It features USB Power Delivery (USB PD), Programmable Power Supply (PPS), and eight various device attachment methods across eight different battery sizes to meet application-specific power requirements.

AUSA 21 – T-Worx Intelligent Rail

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

You may have heard of a Picatinny Smart Rail or Powered Rail which is the NATO STANAG 4740/AEP-90.

The T-Worx Intelligent Rail offers centralized weapon enabler power and control. The intelligent rail is Mil Std 1913 compatible but features an embedded, ruggedized printed circuit board (PCB). The battery is located in the butstock and connects to the rail via jumpers which follow contours of the lower receiver. Alternatives include a pistol grip battery or a mount directly to the rail.

Technically, it’s a power AND data rail but most users have concentrated on the ability to centrally power their enablers. The new Gateway Node seen in this photo, attached to the 3 o’clock rail position allows all of the enablers attached to the rail to communicate with other item’s in the Soldier’s network like an End User Device. It is compatible with the U.S. Army’s Intra-Soldier Wireless (ISW) protocol.

The Augmented Power Pack (APP) and Rugged Auxiliary Charger (RAC) from EXO Charge

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

At next week’s AUSA Annual Exposition the US Army’s new Small Tactical Universal Battery (STUB) series will be taking center stage at the EXO Charge booth (number 860 in Hall ABC).

But also featured will be two other products the company has developed to ease the Soldier’s battery burden, and deliver greater operational effectiveness for portable electronics at the tactical edge. These are the Augmented Power Pack (APP) and the Rugged Auxiliary Charger (RAC), and we are pleased to give you a sneak peek before the show, or in case you’re unable to attend.

Augmented Power Pack (APP) – being developed especially to meet the needs of Special Operations Forces operating in austere environments, the APP is like a multi-tool for power – or a power bank on steroids. The APP packs a whopping 300Wh of energy capacity into a rugged, water-resistant, streamlined form factor. It also features an NVG-compatible display screen for viewing important system information, such as state-of-charge and time-to-depletion. For optimum interoperability and flexibility, the APP features 2x USB Type-C® and 1x NETT Warrior connectors. In fact, the APP is specifically designed to charge multiple devices simultaneously, the APP uses USB Power Delivery (PD) with Programmable Power Supply (PPS) to provide faster and more efficient charging than typical power banks. As it is purpose-built for military use, the APP also has a better thermal signature than commercial power banks, and is finished in a flat dark earth color tone for visual mitigation as well.

Rugged Auxiliary Charger (RAC) – Small, powerful, light weight, and rugged, the RAC is a pocket-sized power force multiplier. The RAC can draw power from any A/C source and utilizes the latest in USB Power Delivery (PD), Programmable Power Supply (PPS), and Gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology to provide fast charging of multiple devices or batteries simultaneously. The RAC can charge standard military battery types such as the 2590 and CWB, is compatible with bulk chargers such as ABC and UBC. With 1x SAE connector, 2x USB Type-C ports, and 1x NETT Warrior connector, the RAC delivers maximum power flexibility and interoperability. The RAC also features a rugged housing that minimizes its thermal signature, and is also finished in a flat dark earth color tone for visual mitigation.

To see and learn more, visit EXO Charge at AUSA (booth number 860, Hall ABC) and also visit EXO Charge on the web at www.EXOcharge.com and on social media at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.

Galvion Wins $5.8 million Contract to Supply US Army with EOD Tools and Equipment Kit (ETEK)

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Galvion, a world leader in the design and manufacture of military power and data management solutions is pleased to announce that its Squad Power Manager™ (SPM) kit will be included in the U.S. Army EOD Tools and Equipment Kit (ETEK).  A $5.8 million contract from Program Manager Close Combat Systems (PM CCS) was awarded to supply an EOD-tailored SPM™ system to all active EOD units starting in December 2021.  The Squad Power Manager is a core element of Galvion’s Nerv Centr® Active Systems range, which provides scalable power and data solutions to the dismounted soldier.  Galvion will be exhibiting the SPM, along with their full range of active systems and their next generation head systems, in booth 3817 at the AUSA exhibition, taking place in Washington DC, 11-13 October 2021.

EOD teams use specialized equipment that requires sustainable and lightweight power when off-grid.  The US DoD were seeking to upgrade their entire EOD dismounted kit and needed a single, customizable solution that could recharge the batteries for EOD tools and scavenge power from multiple sources such as solar, vehicle power or AC mains.  The SPM ETEK Kit includes multiple cables and accessories that offer operational flexibility, allowing EOD units to harvest, scavenge and provide power to mission-critical equipment. The SPM requires no special configuration or programming, converting and managing power as efficiently as possible depending on power sources and equipment needs.  This allows teams to minimize weight and logistical burden by carrying fewer batteries, while increasing operational efficiency through active monitoring and management of power usage.

Kristen Lomastro, President of Active Systems, said: “We are a company that is dedicated to delivering mission success by fully understanding not just the military requirement, but the environment, the conditions and the additional circumstances that the dismounted soldier may encounter.  We pride ourselves on providing the very best technical and engineering solutions possible and by reducing the physical, cognitive and logistical burden for the warfighter, we increase their agility, lethality and survivability.  Galvion is extremely pleased to announce this new contract for ETEK with US Army EOD units, and to continue in our mission to protect and support those who protect us.”

Galvion’s modular and scalable power management systems are battle-ready, flexible and easily integrated with commonly fielded equipment.  The Squad Power Manager is a field-proven system, with customized kits in use across all U.S. DoD branches, including units of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and SOCOM.  In addition, Galvion’s power management systems are being used by allied forces in Canada, the UK, Australia, France, Denmark and Sweden, among others.

www.galvion.com

Powering Tactical Electronics – Making Every Ounce Count

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

There has been an order of magnitude increase in the number of electronic systems on the battlefield over the past 2 decades, and thanks to these systems, our Boots-on-the-Ground now have unmatched C5ISR capabilities at the tactical edge.

However, this increase in capabilities comes at the cost of an increased burden on the troops – as many spare batteries must be carried to keep systems operational. As a result, it is now common for Squad members to carry 20-40 pounds of spare batteries on a typical patrol – on top of all the other things they need to carry (such as food, water, ammunition, and clothing). As a result, the total individual load can often exceed well over 100 pounds.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the debilitating effect that such heavy loads have on the physical health and performance of our service members, as well as their operational effectiveness. But while much focus has been put on making gear and equipment lighter, there is still much room for improvement in reducing “the burden of power”.

As mentioned above, spare batteries make up the majority of the bulk and weight associated with the power burden. However, short of changing the Laws of Physics, what can be done to decrease the amount of spare batteries that troops need to carry to be operationally effective? Standardization and interoperability are two areas where step-change improvements can be made that will reduce the number of different, and often proprietary batteries, that don’t work across platforms.

The Small Tactical Universal Battery (STUB), which was featured last week, is a major step towards creating standardization, interoperability, and mission-adaptive power for the Warfighter. With eight different capacity and size options, plus eight different attachment methods, the STUB series reduces the Warfighter’s battery burden and provides unprecedented levels of interoperability and power commonality. The STUB is a significant step toward reducing complexity in the supply chain, easing logistics and reducing the battery burden on the troops.

A supporting avenue of approach is the incorporation of USB technology. Leveraging industry-standard USB protocols enables shorter product development cycles, reduces overall program cost, and simplifies training, logistics and support for end-users. The use of USB technology also brings advantages in terms of end-user familiarity and platform commonality and interoperability. USB technology also delivers weight savings and performance improvements over legacy military platforms and power sources.

Developing and delivering solutions that are purposefully-designed to provide power commonality and interoperability will certainly help ensure that every ounce counts. Incorporating globally-proven industry-standards and technologies will also help reduce the battery burden and enhance operational effectiveness for the Warfighter. These approaches also constitute a formula that can be implemented now to cost-effectively reduce the battery burden and extend the capabilities of tactical electronics.

Guest post by EXO Charge

DSEi 21 – Molliflex

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

Sometimes at a trade show you zig instead of zag? and when I turned left instead of right on my last say at DSEi I ran smack dab into the Intelligent Textiles Limited stand and their Molliflex cables.

The lady in the stand read my badge aloud, “soldier systems” and as she did it I looked at what they were doing and replied?, “you’re right in my wheelhouse.” Turns out, this is the gem I was searching for at DSEi, that one product I didn’t expect to find, but has great potential.

They’ve done such a good job with their Molliflex cable, that you probably didn’t even notice it in the photo at first or maybe even second glance.

The cable is just 2mm thick and can be woven into PALS compatible platforms. Due to how things it is, pouches can be added over Molliflex. Molliflex lays flat even when folded for 90 degree turns. In fact, it can be folded over two million times before the internal connection is broken. Additionally, it is IP68 rated. The connector is a standard Glenair Mighty Mouse which is Nett Warrior compliant.

Attachments to devices include an Ejector QD plug and Hardpoint attachment plate.

It is rated for power at 5amps,<50voltsDC1 and data at USB 2.0, 480 Mbps.

The outer material is DWR coated nylons me available in Multicam, Coyote, Flecktarn, CADPAT, and Black.

Army Modernizes Tactical Power with Battery Interoperability

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The Army is modernizing tactical power and reducing logistics costs by developing standardized batteries for Soldier-worn and handheld equipment such as radios, GPS, night-vision devices and weapons.

Army Futures Command (AFC) engineers are leading the project to deliver eight sizes of batteries that share a common mechanical and electrical interface — the key to unlocking interoperability.

The Small Tactical Universal Battery (STUB) is the Army’s latest approach to develop a standard family of batteries, according to Dr. Nathan Sharpes, a research mechanical engineer with the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center — a component of AFC’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM).

“Now is an opportune time to standardize power sources as the Army is prioritizing modernization and fielding electronics with greater capabilities requiring more energy than current systems,” Sharpes said.

The C5ISR Center is leading the program that will benefit Soldiers, the acquisition community, logistics personnel and industry, Sharpes said. The goal is to avoid the current model of fielding a proprietary battery for each piece of gear as technology developers have historically delivered unique batteries for new capabilities.

Each battery size provides a different amount of energy, from which Soldiers could choose, depending on their mission needs. This interoperable battery system will seamlessly deliver the correct voltage and power level needs to any device.

“Currently when a Soldier is on a mission carrying five different pieces of gear that each have a unique battery form factor, along with spares, that’s extra weight and items to keep track of,” Sharpes said. “With this family of interoperable batteries, Soldiers will see benefits cognitively and physically.

“Any battery in the STUB family will be able to attach to any device designed for it because of the standard interface. We’re also incorporating eight attachment methods — such as slide on, clip in and twist on — so devices can use the universal battery in different ways. Soldiers can focus more on their missions and less on which types of batteries and how many of each to carry.”

Standardization also alleviates the burden of battery design from manufacturers of handheld electronics. As industry develops new C5ISR technologies, they will be able to concentrate on core competency areas while adhering to the already approved universal-battery specifications. All vendors would follow the same battery guidelines, Sharpes said.

The new standard universal-battery sizes will also simplify logistics and reduce supply chain costs, as the Army will be able to move away from procuring, storing, testing and shipping a wide array of unique batteries required for each piece of Soldier-carried equipment, Sharpes said.

The C5ISR Center’s STUB initiative follows in the footsteps of the Army’s development of the thin, flexible Conformal Wearable Battery (CWB) that Soldiers wear on their vests as a central power source for wearable electronic devices, according to Christopher Hurley, chief of the Center’s Tactical Power Branch.

The CWB development aimed to reduce the number of battery types needed by enabling a single power source to provide extended runtime to select pieces of kit. Current Army research would enable equipment to use smaller STUB batteries when not connected to the CWB.

“The end result is an overall lighter and more energy dense Soldier kit,” Hurley said. “The C5ISR Center is working across Army organizations to create battery standards and specifications. These efforts will meet the demands of the numerous pieces of equipment a Soldier uses and the diverse operating environments in which they conduct missions.”

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The C5ISR Center is the Army’s applied research and advanced technology development center for C5ISR capabilities. As the Army’s primary integrator of C5ISR technologies and systems, the center develops and matures capabilities that support all six Army modernization priorities, enabling information dominance and tactical overmatch for the joint warfighter.

By Dan Lafontaine, DEVCOM C5ISR Center Public Affairs

The C5ISR Center is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM). Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation’s wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.

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Guest Post sponsored by EXO Charge, and published with permission from the U.S. Army. EXO Charge will be exhibiting the STUB series at the AUSA Annual Exposition on their booth, #860 in Hall ABC. www.exocharge.com