We're used to hearing one of the military's biggest complaints: "we love all the gizmos, it's just that we hate the short battery life."
Well, this could be the answer for Joes on the move.
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Developed by Tremont Electric based in Cleveland, Ohio the nPower Personal Energy Generator (PEG) is very lightweight, ultra rugged, and completely silent. The PEG weighs a mere nine ounces packed into a nine inch long cylinder that harvests kinetic energy from the human stride and turns it into 2.5 watts of electricity.
The commercial technology has been adapted for military use and undergone limited evaluations by the Army, Marines and a Joint customer. There are currently two militarized versions of the device and they’re developing some additional versions for specialized use. The first version powers a handheld device (ie, a Garmin GPS, iPod, etc) and the other is a backpack-mounted version that can power a Toughbook, a radio, or other tech a warfighter may have. Both of these devices can, in theory, provide power indefinitely, as long as youre moving. Current systems are crafted from Anodized Aluminum but plans are afoot to transition to Carbon Fiber in order to shave weight.
The military handheld device comes in two sizes. The first is nine inches long, nine ounces, and power output at 5 watts and the second is six inches long, weighs seven ounces, and power output at 2.5 watts. It can be mounted to PALS webbing.
Additionally, they have demonstrated a larger backpack mounted laptop device. It is envisioned to be comprised of two larger units running in parallel inside of a dedicated backpack. To work successfully it demands more mass so a minimum load of 30 lbs is required. While it is heavier, it will produce up to 100 watts.
The PEG offers a couple of operational advantages not realized with many other technologies. It is temperature independent so it will work in arctic and desert environments with no modification. Additionally, it has no thermal signature like fuel cells, which means it cannot be detected in the Infrared spectrum.
Tremont Electric was recognized by Business Week as one of America’s most promising start ups.