Military organizations around the world are looking for ways to take weight off the backs of their troops. On a 72-hour mission, soldiers may carry up to 20 lbs of batteries to power communications, navigation and optics equipment. This weight impacts the range and speed of travel for soldiers and ultimately puts soldier safety and mission efficiency at risk.
The PowerWalk® Kinetic Energy Harvester provides 10-12 watts of wearable, on-the-move power, reducing both mission costs and risks. In addition to removing battery weight, the harvester reduces or eliminates logistical tail challenges, results in a smaller environmental footprint and can increase mission duration and effectiveness.
What if you could reduce battery weight and costs at the same time? On a typical duty day, the PowerWalk can save $135 in batteries. Assuming 200 mission days per year, the total cost savings are $27,000 annually per soldier.
While our current focus is on developing the PowerWalk for military use and applications, our technology represent a viable solution to power the essential communication and navigation equipment used by those working in disaster zones and remote locations.
The direct effects of natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and fires are always compounded by failing communication and electricity grids. First responders and other rescue workers in these difficult situations depend on battery-powered, two-way radios and GPS to stay in communication with one another and to locate those in need. Delivering backup and replacement batteries to disaster-stricken regions poses serious logistical challenges. Furthermore, stockpiled batteries tend to lose energy over time.
Workers in resource-sector industries such as forestry, mining, and oil and gas also rely on mobile technologies such as GPS, two-way radios, and laptop computers to do their jobs and remain safe in the field. In many cases, the amount of time workers can spend in remote worksites is limited by the battery life of their portable electronics.
As in military applications, the PowerWalk can deliver uninterrupted life-saving power in the field, to those who need it most. We are evaluating the feasibility of using our technology to support those working in challenging environments.
Beyond military and professional applications, the PowerWalk has the potential to offer a viable energy alternative for recreational, emergency preparedness and emergency backup applications. Imagine being on a backcountry hike, keeping your phone or GPS charged at all times; or being able to include a PowerWalk in your bug-out bag or survival kit; or knowing that in the event your primary backup power source fails, you have a self-sufficient way to meet your most critical energy needs.
While we develop the PowerWalk for military use, we are beginning to explore what a consumer version of our energy harvester would look like, from product specifications and requirements to cost.