The United States army has signed a contract with Aerotech, Inc. to purchase $2.4 million of its solar-wearable integrated power equipment system in late February. This exchange is one of multiple recent events demonstrating the military's integration of renewable energy technology in their operations.
Myriad rationales exist for the importance of renewable energy for posterity, namely the capability for sustainable growth and development of humankind. Yet the government is unilaterally focused on its potential to save American lives right now. Given modern warfare's exponentially increasing dependence on technology, efficient energy utilization is becoming a matter of life and death for those on the battlefield. The Soldier Wearable Integrated Power Equipment System (SWIPES) technology can transform the armed force's operations by enhancing soldiers' mobility and efficiency in real time.
A substantial amount of the equipment that soldiers use and depend on is battery-powered. From radios, geographic information systems, night scopes, and rangefinders along with many other technical systems, powering equipment is an issue that soldiers on the front line increasingly have to deal with. Mobile soldiers are both safe and effective, and the weight associated with multiple battery packs or hefty charging equipment can prove to be a fatal risk.
Troops need to be able to move quickly on foot while carrying devices that need to be sustained with proper electrical charge. However, the additional power suppliers that are needed to keep these items functioning may be simply too much for the average soldier to handle. There is no point in giving a Marine a gadget if that gadget's weight is such a burden that it renders him overexerted in conflict.
Portable renewable energy technologies, such as Aerotech's SWIPES, have the potential to have a monumental impact on the scale, scope, and safety of this country's military operations. The system seamlessly integrates advanced battery equipment through a power distribution system run by Zinc-air rechargeable batteries. This design allows the batteries to provide direct power to the equipment.
Contemporary warfare tactics necessitate the use of more energy per soldier than ever before in history, which makes portable renewable technologies the fastest growing requisite for battlefield success. The Soldier-Wearable Integrated Power Equipment System will allow soldiers to speed to the landing zone without being burdened with carrying heavy equipment, thereby reducing the chance of casualties.
Government investment in energy solutions for the military may have implications on other economic sectors in the private market. The government accounts for the majority of market consumption for industrial energy, and when the state forms contracts with renewable energy firms they spur large-scale demand for renewable products. Increased demand will be matched by private firms practicing competition through innovation, which may produce new technological advancements. These advancements possess transferable knowledge which could easily revolutionize other areas of human activity.
Speculation aside, progression in the area of renewable energy is not possible with serious government investment. The fact that we are seeing a signed contract with an energy technology firm as innovative as Aerotech is good news for the future.