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Army Tests Alternative to Lead Acid Accumulators

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: 11 March, 2010  (Application Story)
US Army tanks could switch to non-toxic Nickel-Zinc rechargeable batteries as an alternative to existing lead-acid units with review underway into the use of the technology
PowerGenix, a developer and manufacturer of nontoxic, high-performance Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) rechargeable batteries, has announced that the US Army tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Centre (TARDEC) has purchased NiZn batteries for test as a possible replacement for the lead-acid “6T” batteries currently in use. PowerGenix’s NiZn technology offers significant performance gains, delivering twice the energy in half the space of lead-acid batteries.

“As the US military develops more sophisticated technologies for use in high risk, demanding environments, outfitting these vehicles with lighter and more powerful batteries will increase performance and safety,” said PowerGenix CEO Dan Squiller. “The advantages that PowerGenix’s Nickel-Zinc systems offer over lead acid systems are transformative, and we look forward to working with the US Army to develop and deploy battery systems that meet the rigorous requirements of military vehicles.”

The most widely deployed battery format, 6T, is used in 95 percent of US military vehicles. In 2008, the military purchased roughly 700,000 6T batteries. Last year, after recognizing the need to develop more advanced vehicle batteries, TARDEC formed the Advanced Automotive Battery Initiative to pursue cost-effective, lightweight and reliable battery components and materials.

The cost, safety and performance advantages make PowerGenix’s technology ideally suited for a variety of applications in military vehicles, including starting, lighting and ignition; silent watch; equipment actuation; and hybrid-electric propulsion systems. Testing of PowerGenix’s Nickel-Zinc packs is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In addition to performance and service life advantages over lead-acid, PowerGenix’s Nickel-Zinc battery chemistry outperforms the standard rechargeable chemistries Nickel Metal-Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd), delivering 30 percent more power density. PowerGenix batteries contain no lead, cadmium, mercury or other toxic heavy metals and are nontoxic and non-combustible. PowerGenix Nickel-Zinc batteries also offers important advantages over Lithium-ion batteries in safety, cost, and system complexity.
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