WASHINGTON – Soldier power is getting an extra boost from UEC Electronics and Galley Power.
The businesses teamed up to win first place in the U.S. Army xTech Innovation Combine Advanced Energy Storage Challenge for their ability to revolutionize a common, Army-wide battery, the BB-2590. Completed in July 2021, the Innovation Combine sought solutions for critical energy challenges related to battery monitoring and management, and safe, printable, conformal batteries.
The UEC and Galley Power team came out on top for battery monitoring and management; the team’s next-generation BB-2590 maintains the standard form factor, and actively measures and evaluates battery output impedance and voltage characteristics, with accurate performance and life-cycle prediction. This common battery is used in more than 50 military devices, such as radios, sensors and other small, portable equipment that Soldiers carry.
A major difference between the current BB-2590 battery and the team’s modernized version is the innovative flow-control-management system. Chris Peterson, senior manager of business development, proposals and contracts at UEC, described this as a battery “brown-out” instead of a “black-out,” meaning that during the battery’s loss of voltage, the new battery’s flow control can continue powering a device instead of immediately shutting down. A battery charger is also built into the system, which means less equipment is needed for Soldiers in the field.
The technology is not only unique for the benefits it offers, but also because it is a joint solution from two distinct businesses. UEC, now a subsidiary of the larger Arotech Corporation, offers services in product design and manufacturing, while Galley Power is a small business that specializes in battery technologies.
The combination of Galley Power’s battery and UEC’s ability to manufacture the product won the team a cash prize of over $25,000 in the Innovation Combine and the opportunity to submit a prototype proposal of their solution to the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center, which is continuing development and integration testing of the upgraded BB-2590 prototype.
“xTech provided us a rare opportunity to talk with the customer – the Army – about not only what they want, but also what they need,” said Peng Li, Galley Power general manager.
In addition to the continued development of their solution for future Army integration, UEC’s Peterson is still playing a role in xTech; instead of competing, he is using his experience with xTech to serve as a mentor to other non-traditional science and technology businesses that are participating in the program with the hope of partnering with the Army.
Peterson most recently served as a mentor to a company developing an airborne electronic device for xTechSearch 6 as part of the xTech Accelerator Program, which facilitates the transition of technologies from the program to the Army ecosystem. With a background in aviation, he was able to offer valuable insight on solution design and manufacturing, as well as the ins and outs of battery testing for the military.
Mentors like Peterson bring experience and credibility to the program as it continues to unite non-traditional innovators with the Army.
“Having been through xTech, I saw the value of having a mentor to guide the process of government contracting and business development in the Army space,” Peterson said. “My advice to my mentee and other small businesses is to never stop building your network; your big opportunity could be right around the corner.”
UEC and Galley Power are energizing the Army’s future force with their innovative battery technology. Their dual effort has united technology and manufacturing expertise to power up the equipment that Soldiers rely on for frontline duty. For more information on these businesses, visit their websites at www.uec-electronics.com and www.galleypower.com.
Established in 2018, the Army xTech Program strives to integrate small businesses and non-traditional vendors into the Army’s science and technology ecosystem by providing opportunities for direct exposure to laboratories, program executive offices and program managers from across the Army. Participants receive detailed feedback from Army and DoD stakeholders and have access to training, mentorship and other support infrastructure as they progress through the competition to determine how best to align their technology solutions with real users and buyers within the Army.
The xTech Program holds several competitions per year, from open-topic competitions such as xTechSearch to technology-specific competitions targeting specific Army needs and challenges. For all competition information, go to https://www.xtechsearch.army.mil/.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology provides the American Soldier with a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world's finest equipment and services, and by leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs.