The U.S. military is in the process of developing, testing and deploying renewable energy solutions as replacements for those that require resource-draining fossil fuels.
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U.S. Military Takes the Lead in Renewable Energy

The U.S. military is in the process of developing, testing and deploying renewable energy solutions as replacements for those that require resource-draining fossil fuels.

Third Battalion Marines of Company I will be the first to take renewable technology into the battle zone, replacing the diesel and kerosene-based fuels that normally power military encampments. Renewable replacements include portable solar panels; energy-conserving lights; solar tent shields for shade and electricity; and solar chargers for communications equipment.


Even as the government and civilians may have put renewable energy on hold due to the economic recession, the military has taken steps forward to advance their use of this renewable and sustainable technology, more out of necessity: military commanders uniformly see dependence on fossil fuel as a liability.

Renewable energy costs less from an environmental standpoint, but it is also more cost effective for the overall military budget. While a single diesel generator costs several hundreds of thousand of dollars (plus more in transportation costs), renewable technologies for sustaining Marine Company I cost only $50,000 to $70,000.


According to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, military use of renewable energy is practical on the level of national security. Fossil fuels are imported from unstable regions and the increasing threat of overdependence on a dwindling resource creates environmental and international conflict. Mabus and other experts agree that renewable energy use in the military will decrease these threats and thus increase national security


The Navy is already benefiting from the first hybrid vessel, the U.S.S. Makin Island, which runs on electricity under speeds of 10 knots. On its maiden voyage from Mississippi to San Diego, U.S.S. Makin Island saved 900,000 gallons of fuel.

The Air Force plans to convert its entire fleet to biofuel-certified by 2011. If they test well, biofuels could be am untapped goldmine for the military, with the potential to be readily available and cost efficient.

Renewable solutions for military power are being tested constantly. For example, the military is researching the use of cooling systems that use underground pipes releasing cool air into military tents, and solar fans on tent roofs. The Marines are exploring solar-powered water purification systems, and truck-based biofuel plants for turning local crops into fuel.

The military continues leading us forward, looking towards increasingly more cost efficient and more viable renewable technologies as the solutions for the future of the environment, the military, and world security.


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