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U.K. Military Developing Solar-Powered Uniforms That Generate Electricity

solar power, solar fashion, solar clothing, military uniforms, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, wearable technology

Scientists across the United Kingdom are working on a solar-powered kit that could lighten the load of soldiers—and, more important, increase their mobility—by up to 50 percent. Developed by the University of Glasgow with Loughborough, Strathclyde, Leeds, Reading, and Brunel Universities, and funded by both the Ministry of Defence and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the new uniform will use photovoltaic cells to harness the sun’s energy, as well as thermoelectric devices to turn temperature differentials into electricity (see: Seebeck Effect).

solar power, solar fashion, solar clothing, military uniforms, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, wearable technology

SOLAR SOLDIERS

But the power system isn’t just a way to alleviate soldiers’ physical burden. (Batteries can make up more than 10 percent of the 100 to 150 pounds of equipment they carry, according to Duncan Gregory, a chemistry professor at the University of Glasgow and the project’s lead researcher.) By eliminating the need to return to base for recharging, the solar pack also increases the potential range and duration of military operations. Plus, the system will absorb energy across the electromagnetic spectrum, making troops harder to detect by infrared night-vision equipment.

The U.K. project is the first to marry thermoelectric devices with solar cells to generate power without interruption, 24/7.

Although equipping soldiers with solar-powered gear isn’t a new concept, the U.K. project is the first to marry thermoelectric devices with solar cells to generate power without interruption, 24/7. The research team is also looking to weave both devices into a soldier’s battle dress—a feat that hasn’t been attempted before. Of course, the fact that the system will tap into clean and free energy sources isn’t lost on the researchers or the military, either.

“We aim to produce a prototype system within two years,” Gregory says in a press release. “We also anticipate that the technology that we develop could be adapted for other and very varied uses. One possibility is in niche space applications for powering satellites; another could be to provide means to transport medicines or supplies at cool temperatures in disaster areas, or to supply fresh food in difficult economic or climatic conditions.”

+ Press Release

[Via ScienceDaily]

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3 Responses to “U.K. Military Developing Solar-Powered Uniforms That Generate Electricity”

  1. TU says:

    what, no off the shelf kinetic micro generation in these hybrid personal power included here ?

    if kinetic micro generation is good enough for UK shopping companies and night club’s its good enough for incorporating in to self contained personal power unit’s too

    come on brit’s even if you are Scottish really :S , dont follow the US ether/or mentality of hybrid, think of using all forms of micro generation into a single small unit, mass produced…

    and dont ever forget to actual ask the end users what improvements they want to incorporate too, you have missed an really obvious thing to improve it’s output for sure, they will tell you what if you just ask them!

  2. Ben at This Tribe says:

    Any updates on progress with this project? We’re working with some UK researchers and the UK’s largest online military social network to identify kit improvements and would be happy to help with user testing and awareness raising.

  3. a2e says:

    Great! A eco-friendly uniform for the military so they can secure other countries oil!

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