The vast majority of battery development is focused on increasing battery energy density, reducing cost and enhancing safety to maximize consumer acceptance. For some industries, however, extremities in performance, environment, safety and reliability have become the primary criteria; cost, while still important, is not necessarily a deciding factor. Those extreme environmental and performance requirements are not met by state-of-the-art consumer batteries, or are even being considered as primary drivers for research and development by funding agencies. It was out of this vacuum that the Center for Research in Extreme Batteries (CREB) was created, aiming to develop batteries to meet the extreme needs of the defense, aerospace and biomedical industries. The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking solutions to the power needs of the battlefield, considering new approaches for power generation, energy storage, power distribution, alternative energy/energy efficiency and thermal management. Although technologies such as fuel cells, electrochemical and dielectric capacitors, photovoltaics, as well as alternative fuels are being actively developed, batteries will continue to play a pivotal role as the main storage vehicle. Indeed, safety might be the single most important requirement for batteries used in the battlefield environment. It's critical for the mission that the battery pack worn by a soldier must not only circumvent any possible thermal runaway during rough use/abuse such as crashing, impacting and even ballistic penetration, but also continue to power the mission for a period when mechanical damage has occured.
This is the ultimate goal of CREB: to bolster the tactics of our Warfighters, making them as effective and safe as possible. Follow this link to a Youtube video and learn more!
-- Chunsheng Wang, Ph.D., UMD CREB Director