A few months ago, SOFREP reported on an important discovery made by scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory that involved combining water with a newly engineered nano-powder based on aluminum.  When water came into contact with the aluminum powder, it instantly released hydrogen that could be used as a fuel source to power electronics: something of the utmost importance to a warfighter that needs to keep communications and GPS location equipment up and running while in austere environments.

What we do as Army scientists is develop materials and technology that will directly benefit the Soldier and enhance their capabilities,” said Dr. Kristopher Darling, an ARL researcher. “We developed a new processing technique to synthesize a material, which spontaneously splits water into hydrogen.”

The Army has continued to experiment with their new wonder-powder since then; first, by powering a remote-controlled tank they could drive around the office with it, and now, by testing different types of liquids a warfighter might have available to them in order to produce an electrical charge from the powder, which offers a number of promising applications, including drones powered by the very materials they’re made of, and emergency charging solutions for the battlefield.

“We have calculated that one kilogram of aluminum powder can produce 220 kilowatts of energy in just three minutes,” said Dr. Anit Giri, also an ARL researcher.