A recent post on the Energy Innovation Tracker emphasized the growing impact of investment by the DOD’s military branches on clean energy innovation. Together the Army, Navy, and Air Force spent over $850 million in FY2011 on energy research and development, and are expected to spend over $950 million in FY2012.
One particularly interesting developing space for military energy innovation is found in the Army’s Combat Vehicle and Automotive Technology programs. The programs are a collection of 16 projects aimed at reducing the Army’s operational combat vehicle reliance on liquid fuels. The projects are split between two jointly run programs under similar names – the Combat Vehicle and Automotive Technology Program (for applied research) and the Combat Vehicle and Automotive Advanced Technology Program (for advanced technology development). While the programs do not solely pursue the development and adoption of clean energy technologies, the proportion of investment devoted to this practice has been rising during recent years, and has expanded from simply developing and demonstrating hybrid electric vehicles to pursuing additional capabilities for its tanks and other combat vehicles by enhancing energy storage capacity, waste heat management and HVAC efficiency, and fuel cell utilization and applicability.
The benefits of this kind of innovation are obvious to both the DOD and Congress, which has allowed the Army to more than double the investment in research and development of clean energy innovation technologies for these two programs, raising spending from $36 million in FY2009 to about $82 million in FY2012. The additional investment is allowing the Army to further develop its renewable operational energy capabilities, and is encouraging the department to demonstrate these capabilities publicly. The Army recently announced the development of a new initiative called the ‘Green Warrior Convoy,’ which will be a testing and demonstration project showcasing a fleet of combat vehicles outfitted with the branch’s latest developments in renewable energy technologies. The fleet will travel from the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren, Michigan to Washington, DC next spring, stopping in communities along the way to educate the public on the Army’s advanced vehicle technologies and the benefits of reducing fuel consumption and diversifying energy sources for transportation.
Within the last fiscal year, all three military branches committed to adding one gigawatt each of renewable energy to installations – each branch has suggested individual estimates for how long this goal will take to achieve, ranging between five years (for the Air Force) and 15 years (for the Army). These goals will be met with the help of tangible investments in innovation. As the military branches’ roles in advanced energy research and development grow in significance, it is important to keep track of the funding allocated to clean technology development, as well as the kind of technology portfolio each branch is maintaining. We will continue to track these types of investments in the future.
The table below captures the names, descriptions, and funding for the projects within the applied research and advanced technology development combat vehicles programs during the past four fiscal years – all of these projects have been developed at the TARDEC.
Originally posted on the Energy Innovation Tracker, a database capturing U.S. energy innovation R&D spending since 2009. For additional analysis, keep an eye on the Tracker’s blog and follow the Tracker on Twitter: @energyrdtracker.
Image: Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle diesel electric hybrid prototype. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army, SFC Anthony Taylor, 85th Support Command, USAR.