US Marines Use Solar Power to Cut Forward Operating Base Fuel Use By 90%

US marines in afghanistan photo

photo: ISAF Public Affairs/Creative Commons

While the RAND Corporation says the US military won't directly benefit from switching to renewable fuels--that is, it's own operations won't benefit, even if the nation will--another just released study says otherwise. The Office of Naval Research, in partnership with the Marine Corps, says it has solid evidence of the benefits of switching to renewable energy at forward operating bases. The argument in favor of using more renewable energy is one that has been made several times before, in the words of Rear Admiral Nevin Carr, chief of naval research,

By doing so there is the potential for the Marine Corps to cut back the number of resupply convoys to these remote locations and save lives by keeping Marines clear of IED attacks. (Science Daily)

Examples from Afghanistan include using solar panels to charge batteries (in the military's alphabet soup, SPACES or Solar Portable Alternative Energy Systems) the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines have been able to conduct extended patrols without the need for resupply. Using GREENS (Ground Renewable Energy Networks, a photovoltaic battery system) fuel for generators at Marine Corps forward operating bases testing the system was reduced by 90%.

More info about the Experimental Forward Operating Base project: Office of Naval Research
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More on Renewable Energy & The Military :
Alternative Fuels Won't Help Military: New Report
How the US Military Could Bring Solar Power to Mass Market
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