"Unexpected Green" Finalist: US Army Rechargeable Batteries

One of America's biggest consumers might be getting a little bit greener. Finalist Ken Zemach, who is working with the 1/506th infantry regiment in Ramadi, Iraq, writes to let us know that the US Army is making a push towards rechargeable batteries - which means less waste and less cost. Here is what Ken had to say about it:

"Ramadi, Iraq. The most dangerous location in Iraq, where gun battles rage several times a day, and incoming mortar and rocket fire requires close attention to the nearest bunker. Trust me; I had to run for one today. Yet, even here, there is a Green Movement afoot.""The Army, granted, driven more by cost than environmentalism, is ramping up a serious change to rechargeable batteries from the old standard disposables. Now that the new LiIon versions of the ubiquitious "5590" radio battery have arrived, soldiers can get almost as much runtime from a rechargeable as they can from an $80, toxic, LiSO2 disposable. Not only will the military save tens of millions of dollars in purchase and logistics costs per year, but the reduction in landfill waste will be huge.

But it doesn't stop there. Serious research is being conducted into alternative methods of power generation on the battlefield, including solar powered battery chargers for the military batteries, which, yes, we'll be trialing in two weeks.

Small changes by such a large organization have a large, and cascading effect. The purchase power of the US Military for rechargeable batteries should not be underestimated in its effects on technology in general. The Green Movement in the Army will drive forward, and it will be better for the environment, even if that repercussion never crosses their mind. After all, they are the men and women in green. Er, tan."

If even the US Army is seeing that being green is economically sound, we hope that more government agencies and large corporations will be soon to follow. Regardless of your politics concerning the war, this is certainly good news. A big thanks to Ken and to the 1/506th!