Salt Lake City
5:13 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

University of Utah Selected to Develop New Batteries for Soldiers

The U.S Army is looking to improve some of their materials and they’re asking scientists at the University of Utah to help. A little over a year ago, the United States Army put out a request for proposals. They have a “weight” problem and need some help in fixing it.

“A soldier carries say something like 30 pounds of batteries in the field ..that’s a lot. If we can reduce that, that would make a big difference to how the soldier can move around for example.”

That’s where Martin Berzins comes in. He’s a professor of computing at the University of Utah and will be working with the 4 post-doc researchers and 8 graduate students who are assisting in the research:

“We might do everything from modeling molecules and putting together a computational model which tells you how that battery will behave and how heavy it will be and how much of an improvement it will be.” 

Mike Kerby is Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Utah. He says what’s so exciting about this project is it won’t end with the Army; the research will be used to help everyone in the coming years:

“Clearly within my generation and certainly within my children’s generation, there will be adaptations to what people do with respect to energy and energy storage. Because once in-roads have been made with respect to one branch of science and one area of our government, you'll see that there will be sprinkling into all kinds of other activities."

The University of Utah is leading a team of 7 other schools also working on the project. Over the next 5 years the university will receive $4.2 million for their work.