Defense Acquisitions: Opportunities Exist to Improve DOD's Oversight of Power Source Investments
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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DOD invests in power sources such as batteries, fuel cells, and capacitors to support the warfighting effort by powering weapon systems and equipment. DODs power source investment is expected to rise because of an increased reliance on advanced weapon systems and equipment an ongoing efforts to develop new technologies that are smaller, lighter, and more power dense. Batteries are devices that convert chemical energy into electrical energy. The two main types of batteries are primary non-rechargeable and secondary rechargeable. Primary batteries, which are discarded after their charge has been depleted, are the most common battery type for soldier-carried applications. A subclass of primary batteries called thermal batteries is used for short-term, high-power applications e.g., missiles. While primary batteries typically self discharge available energy when not in use, thermal batteries have a longer shelf life because they remain inert until activated. Secondary batteries, which can be reenergized after their charge has been depleted, are less commonly used by deployed units than primary batteries. However, the Army has undertaken educational campaigns to increase their use in light of some cost efficiencies and operational advantages including overall weight reduction of soldiers equipment. Further, the military services are interested in transitioning from non-rechargeable batteries to secondary batteries because their use by deployed units may decrease the number of vehicle convoys needed to supply batteries in war zones. DOD is also interested in limiting the proliferation of battery types to reduce the number of different battery types the soldiers have to carry and limit soldier confusion over which battery is required to operate a device-thus simplifying operations and resupply.
- Electric Power Production and Distribution
- Electrochemical Energy Storage