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06 Aug 07. Saft is manufacturing the highest power lithium ion (Li-ion) cells in the world. The VLV range of cells exhibits a specific power double that of typical high power cells that are available for defense applications and hybrid electric military vehicles. Saft’s very high power VLV line consists of three sizes of cells (VL4V, VL8V, and VL12V), which comprise the highest power cells commercially available in the world today. New for 2007, will be the VL6A, a high power cell designed for civil applications that require peak power, such as windmill blade pitch control.
03 Aug 07. A team working for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — better known for some innovative if controversial surveillance ideas — had been working for a year and a half on a $12m effort aimed at reducing the number of batteries soldiers carry for their flashlights and other equipment, Science reports. Its goal was to create solar panels that convert to electricity more than half the energy hitting them from across the solar spectrum, compared with the fifth of such energy currently captured by commercially available equipment. The innovation came when the team decided to try combining photovoltaic materials that otherwise don’t work together, including so-called dichroic materials that separate light into different wavelengths, the magazine explains. The result is an unofficial record of 42.8% efficiency, only a couple percentage points higher than the old laboratory mark but a level that was hailed for proving that the new concept works. The Darpa team’s advances, while promising in the lab, could be expensive to build in workable devices. But the agency hopes it can move the technology to the marketplace faster than what an Energy Department official described as a typical 15-year journey to the marketplace for solar-cell architecture. And DuPont has signed on to a three-year, $100m deal to work with the Darpa team to create commercially viable prototypes. (Source: WSJ)
30th Jul 07. Air Products, in partnership with Hellas Air Pro Ltd, has supplied a new state-of-the-art submarine of the Hellenic Navy with hydrogen. The HDW Class 214 submarine has a fuel cell-generated power supply, allowing it to operate entirely on hydrogen. The fuel cell, which produces electrical energy from oxygen and hydrogen, allows the new submarine to cruise under water for weeks without resurfacing – conventional diesel-electric submarines typically deplete their battery power after a few days’ cruising under water. In addition, the fuel cell makes no noise and produces no detectable exhaust heat, making the submarine almost undetectable. The fuelling technology is based on Air Products’ unique cryogenic hydrogen compressors (CHCs), which are used in conventional hydrogen supplies, as well as in bus fuelling applications. Ian Williamson, General Manager of Future Energy Solutions for Air Products Europe, said: “We are paving the way to the future hydrogen economy, by already supplying liquid hydrogen from Central Europe as far as Ireland, Italy, Spain and Israel. By supplying liquid hydrogen as well as fuelling equipment, we are able to offer a complete and safe package to our customers. We are proud to have already supplied hydrogen fuelling equipment, as well as liquid hydrogen, to fuel submarines from the German Navy and now the Hellenic Navy, and we hope more will adopt this revolutionary technology soon.” (Source: MoD Defence Contracts Bulletin)
08 Aug 07. The team of Rockwell Collins and Cubic Defense Applications, Inc., announced that their new Mini-Common Data Link (CDL) system has been successfully flight tested on a King Air platform and a Killer Bee Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). During the testing, which was witnessed by representatives of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps, the Mini-CDL demonstrated bi-directional communications out to 20 mil