Marines escort supply trucks to forward operating bases in northern Helmand province, Afghanistan. The Pentagon plans to spend $18 million to fund programs aimed at reducing energy use in combat zones, where fuel supply convoys are often targeted by insurgents. (U.S. Marines)
The Defense Department plans to spend $18 million to fund six programs aimed at reducing energy use in combat zones.
The programs will be run by DoD and the Energy Department, which will partner with small businesses to develop new technology, according to a DoD announcement Tuesday.
The programs include:
• $6.0 million to develop an energy-efficient battlefield shelter, which will replace temporary shelters and tents and will reduce heating and cooling by up to 50 percent.
• $3.9 million to assess new technology to reduce energy use in tropical environments by up to 50 percent by fiscal 2016.
• $3.2 million to adapt commercial air-conditioning technology for warzone heating and cooling systems to potentially reduce fuel consumption up to 50 percent.
• $2.5 million to recover waste heat from heating and cooling units to reduce fuel consumption by up to 30 percent.
• $1.4 million to create a baseline for Afghanistan operations and determine the best use of technology to cut energy use.
• $1 million to design a portable living structure that incorporates lightweight building materials, insulation and a reflective coating to reduce energy use by up to 82 percent.
Fuel can be a tactical and operational vulnerability on the battlefield, the announcement noted. In Iraq and Afghanistan, opponents have targeted U.S. fuel supply convoys.
"The department is taking the lead on this because saving energy on the battlefield means saving lives and money," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in the announcement.