• Feb 13th 2011 at 1:39PM
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ADA Technologies, Inc. has been awarded a $70,000 contract from the U.S. Army to begin Phase 1 of the development of an electrochemical ultracapacitor for use in hybrid military vehicles. ADA's developmental work will be performed with assistance from Maxwell Technologies, the company behind the commercially-available line of Boostcap ultracapacitors.

Douglas Campbell, ADA's research and development program manager, outlined the developmental goals of the U.S. Army-funded project, stating:
We expect the successful completion of this Phase I research to lead to development of ultracapacitors with the energy and power densities needed for military applications. In addition, these ultracapacitors will have safe operation over a wide temperature range and excellent cycle life, making them unique in the market.
It's hard to imagine that the Humvee, the vehicular backbone of the U.S. military, could some day be outfitted with electrochemical ultracapacitors and a diesel-electric powertrain... but who knows?

[Source: Green Car Congress | Image: Jeshua.nace – C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 29 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The military probably wants them to power coil guns.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sounds awesome to me! :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's a "rail gun",

        But yes, that too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The only way this makes sense is if all that is needed is a minor adaption of existing Maxwell capacitor technology.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We were developing hybrids back in the 1997. Glad that the much maligned GW Bush and BH Obama have continued that work.

      Dual engines in P-38 lightning were a liability, as they could not maintain level flight with a single engine. It could fly, and so was useful, and young Col Lindberg showed how it could be leaned out to get longer range. Adm. Yamamoto was so surprised and not in a good way.

      In like manner, running the mechanical power through electric motors provides two ways for the Hummer to fail: Loss of electric power kills it instantly. Loss of diesel kills it slowly. The big advantage is use of the Hummer engine for power for radars or radios when it is sitting still. That means you don't have to drag around trailers with 5 KW generators.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Electrochemical ultracapacitors?? Uhh ... aren’t ultracaps supposed to be solid state? Ultracapacitors with the energy and power densities needed for military applications?? Sounds like new stuff to me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        electrochemical = solid-state

        If there's no vacuum or gas discharge, and there's no moving part, it's considered solid-state.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Does it mean that they don't believe that the magic powder from EESTOR is for real?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think diesel-electric hybrids would be almost ideal for the military. Especially if they could run for a time off of pure electric, like the Volt.

      Here's why:

      1) In electric mode, very quiet. Good for increased situational awareness (soldiers can hear what's going on around them, instead of just the roar of a diesel engine), and reduces noise, so at least enemies can't hear you coming from 3 blocks away. During nighttime operations, you could creep through an urban environment while barely making a noise.

      2) In a place like those bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, you could recharge through solar arrays. It costs the military a ton of time, money and security to get those gallons of diesel delivered to the forward bases. Even if this just gives you maybe 20 miles of range on all-electric, at least you're manufacturing part of your fuel at the point of use.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is probably more useful as a way to keep all the electronics (communications, computers, tracking, eavesdropping) equipment operational without running the engine while the humvee is just sitting there. If a parked Humvee is able to remain operational in this fashion for a few hours, it could greatly expand its usefulness.
      • 4 Years Ago
      $70,000??

      To pay their employees for a week? What kind of crappy grant is that?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Evidently ADA was happy with it. Do you really want grants to be like winning the lottery with your tax money? It is probably a very focused development proposal and will doubtless have cost overruns.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Just want I was thinking. Did they miss a zero or two in that number?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I will satisfy your laziness in following the sources:

        August 04, 2009
        ADA Technologies, Inc. received a $100,000 grant from the Department of Energy to continue research into the development of high performance, safe and long-lasting lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

        ADA has received more than $1 million in grant money for advanced energy storage technology R&D, including the development of Li-ion batteries and ultracapacitors.
        http://www.businesswire.com/news/google/20090804005216/en

        August 05, 2009
        The company also recently completed a Phase I SBIR, also funded by the DOE, for the development of high-performance carbon nanomaterials for electrochemical capacitors.

        http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/08/ada-20090805.html

        February 07, 2011
        ADA Technologies, Inc. (earlier post) received a $70,000 contract from the US Army for Phase I research into the development of advanced electrochemical ultracapacitor systems for use in hybrid electronic vehicles (HEVs) for high power military applications.

        http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/02/ada-20110207.html

        • 4 Years Ago
        Sounds like a typical DARPA SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research). DARPA expects a PhD level researcher to spend something like 4-5 months writing a white paper on the subject. It likely contain some sort of preliminary design, with numerous projections on power density, energy density, life span etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In the early nineties, we had hybrid electric HUMVEES with diesel engines and an active program of ultra-capacitor development. Nearly all the "new" developments in electric, hybrid and PHEV vehicles were pioneered by this DARPA program.
      • 4 Years Ago
      By the time these are viable, the Humvee will be gone. They're being replaced soon.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Meanwhile, there will be a huge fleet (well over a quarter million) of HMMWVs still in use, and in need of drivetrain replacements/upgrades.

        Any tech that can be applied to a HMMWV test mule will likely be incorporated into the FTTS program. After all, it's what automakers do - they use current generation vehicles as test beds for tech that might end up in the next generation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Let's defund the military and funnel all that money into renewable energy research. We don't need the military as "middle man" for innovation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Couldn't agree more!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've long held that opinion before Obama. You got any better ideas to clean up our world and give us a stronger economy? Oh wait, highly doubt that, you're republican.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Let's plug your brain into a planter and see if it grows.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for giving us your opinion, Obama.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hybrid Kurt said:

      Sounds like a typical DARPA SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research). DARPA expects a PhD level researcher to spend something like 4-5 months writing a white paper on the subject. It likely contain some sort of preliminary design, with numerous projections on power density, energy density, life span etc.

      Precisely; the dollar amount equals this quite neatly. I work in this field, and we see these sorts of "small projects" all the time. They are sort of background noise to the multi-million dollar projects, but they sometimes lead to bigger things.
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