Bear Grylls will practice his background in the British special forces properly in the new series Running Wild: The Challenge, which launched on National Geographic and Disney+. The military connection is interesting from a clean-tech perspective because Running Wild The team and today’s electrified soldiers both depend on batteries to sustain operations in remote locations.
It’s all about the batteries
CleanTechnica had a chance to ask Bear how he and the team managed to pull it all together Running Wild: The Challengeand it was no walk in the park. Our email interview follows.
CleanTechnica: What is the biggest challenge of filming the series?
Bear: I think last season it was especially difficult to juggle covid restrictions, locations and guests… a lot of film productions were operating in production bubbles and were nervous about giving their lead actors time to have adventures, along with the locations that had to be change often. it’s a tough year. But we are lucky to be a small efficient team and able to adapt quickly and stay ready with plans. That’s why I’m so proud that we’ve had such an impressive season as a crew against that backdrop. Despite the challenges. But as they say: storms make us stronger!
CleanTechnica: How is technology involved in designing challenges?
Bear: Good battery power is always critical for shooting in all weathers and temperatures with so much camera and security equipment. But that’s what we’re used to, and the crew is amazing about carrying the right amount of gear so we can still move quickly and operate efficiently, while still having everything handy and waterproof and plenty of everything. This is a dance that comes with experience, because without technique or strength we cannot film the adventure.
CleanTechnica: What’s next for you – what’s your next project?
Bear: Until next season Running Wild — and what a huge privilege it is to be able to continue this show that we all love and have given so much of our lives to build. It’s such an honor to work with best friends and so many great stars.
The stars are coming out Running WildWith a Military Twist
Real stars Running Wild: The Challenge are amazing places, including the canyons of the Escalante Desert in southern Utah, the Canadian Rockies, the coastal jungles and volcanic rainforests of Costa Rica, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Great Basin Desert.
But folk stars also get props for helping bring the wonders of the natural world into millions of living rooms around the world, including Natalie Portman, Sima Liu, Ashton Kutcher, Florence Pugh, Anthony Anderson and Rob Riggle.
Rob Riggle’s military background may have helped him in the plot. The Kentucky-born actor and comedian joined the U.S. Marine Corps after college and served as a lieutenant colonel in the reserves.
His Running Wild the episode takes place in the Great Basin and involves a lot of rope work, apparently in preparation for an upcoming role.
Those of you familiar with the Great Basin may be wondering where exactly Riggle et al Running Wild the team went to the Great Basin. Good question! Watch the series to find out (spoiler alert: see the photo caption at the top of this page).
The Great Basin is actually a series of basins spread across several western states, all characterized by not draining into the ocean. Rain and snow above these basins either evaporate or seep underground. If you would like to visit, check out Great Basin National Park in Nevada.
Batteries For Tomorrow’s Soldier, Today
The military connection to batteries is pretty obvious, but it’s worth a quick review. Batteries are the foundation of modern warfare. The use of batteries for drones has received a lot of attention recently, but a key part of the challenge is organizing batteries for soldiers on foot to power their ever-increasing amount of electronic equipment, often made by different manufacturers with incompatible battery systems. .
Batteries alone can represent 15 to 25 pounds of a soldier’s load, and safety is also an issue. So are the costs. According to one estimate calculated as early as 2011, the annual cost of erecting batteries for a battalion in Afghanistan was second only to the cost of ammunition.
US military researchers have been dealing with the problem of portable batteries for years. One breakthrough was published in the journal Nature three years ago, in which scientists from the Army Enterprise Research Laboratory (aka ARL) and the University of Maryland demonstrated an ultra-high-capacity rechargeable battery.
“Using reversible halogen conversion and intercalation in a graphite structure enabled by a superconcentrated aqueous electrolyte, the authors demonstrated all-aqueous Li-ion batteries with excellent cycling stability and a projected energy density of 460 Wh/kg (total weight of cathode and anode), which is comparable to or even higher than that of state-of-the-art Li-ion batteries using transition metal oxide cathodes and flammable non-aqueous electrolytes,” the military explained.
ARL is also working on futuristic, virtually unbreakable batteries that can withstand extreme temperatures and extremely harsh conditions.
“ARL scientists have carefully engineered sheets of bendable, water-based, nonflammable, durable lithium-ion batteries designed to support the war effort,” the military explained, noting that “typical batteries can be potentially dangerous in military operations,” it added. where overheating and wear are prevalent. Under these conditions, traditional batteries can become unreliable, catch fire or even explode.”
And of course solid state batteries are available
ARL is on an upward timeline to get the battery into use by 2024, so stay tuned for more information.
Meanwhile, this particular battery is just one part of a multi-year, $7.2 million next-generation research program that ARL launched in October 2020.
Collaborating with ARL on the project are the University of Maryland, the University of Montana, the Department of Energy’s Argonne and Brookhaven laboratories, the National Institute of Standards & Technology, the New York Battery & Energy Storage Consortium, Stony Brook University, and the University of Texas-Austin.
The team also includes supercapacitor firm Graphenix Development Inc., solid-state energy storage expert Ion Storage Systems and the Saft America division of world-leading battery manufacturer Saft.
Speaking of teams, for those of you keeping score at home, Running Wild: The Challenge was developed by Bear Grylls and Delbert Shoopman and produced by Electus, a Propagate Company, and The Natural Studios (for Electus and The Natural Studios, Bear Grylls serves as executive producer along with Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Ben Silverman, Howard Owens, Liz Schulze, Rob Buchta and Delbert Shoopman.Bengt Anderson and Sean David Johnson are executive producers for National Geographic).
More stories about the Army’s cleantech research are here.
Follow me on Twitter @TinaMCasey.
Image: Running Wild: The Challenge filming in Great Basin (photo courtesy of National Geographic/Ben Simms).
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