The U.S. Army recently awarded a three-year contract to C&D Technologies of Blue Bell, Pa., to develop an advanced energy-storage system for use in grid-connected systems, off-grid applications and microgrid environments in conjunction with the Army’s Renewable Energy Generation Systems (REGS).

With power demands growing in many global deployments, the Army is trying to increase the use of renewable energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. A central focus of this plan is the development of a new generation of storage batteries that incorporate carbon nanophase technologies. Lead-carbon batteries are different because they combine the high-energy density of a lead-acid battery and the high specific power of a super-capacitor. The goal of lead-carbon research is to extend the cycle life of lead-acid batteries while increasing power and lowering cost.

These batteries are hoped to have exceptional cycling properties that are required for effective wind and solar applications and are cost-effective, reliable and fully recyclable at the end of product life. The need for storage capacity is expected to grow as more military systems use renewable energy to provide grid and backup power to U.S. soldiers and their equipment in the field.

Besides broader applications for lead-carbon energy storage in other military branches, technologies developed under the program will also be used for C&D’s commercial customers with potential uses in large-scale grid storage, community energy storage, and renewable-energy applications. The hoped-for result is a domestic source of a modular, highly reliable energy-storage system with the potential for achieving economies of scale to ensure affordability for a range of military and commercial renewable-energy applications. This new advanced energy-storage system will be developed at C&D’s Blue Bell and Leola, Pa., facilities.