From Barracks to the Battlefield: Clean Energy Innovation and America’s Armed Forces

Sep 21, 2011

Throughout its history, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has invested in new ways of harnessing energy to enhance the strength, speed, range and power of the armed forces. Until recently, the U.S. military’s innovation agenda has not placed a high premium on energy efficiency and new sources of energy and fuels. But the department’s experience conducting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the rise of new global threats and challenges have caused DoD to rethink its strategic energy posture. Special emphasis has been placed on reducing battlefield fuel demand and securing reliable, renewable energy supplies for combat and installation operations.

DoD’s major energy challenges include risks associated with transporting liquid fuels to and on the battlefield; growing oil price volatility; the impact of fuel dependence on operational effectiveness; the fragility of energy supplies for forces that must have assured power 24 hours a day; and energy laws and mandates the department must comply with.

This report details how energy innovation and clean energy can help DoD respond to these energy challenges. It also explores ways in which DoD’s commitment to energy transformation is contributing to development of new energy technologies that can serve American consumers and commercial interests alike. Special attention is given to priority DoD initiatives in key areas of the world’s burgeoning and competitive clean energy sector: vehicle efficiency, advanced biofuels, and energy efficient and renewable energy technologies for buildings.

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