First-ever, zero-emission military vehicles advance alternative energy efforts for DOD
U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — U.S. Army-Pacific unveiled a fleet of 16 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that the military services in Hawaii are testing in an effort to research efficient, clean and renewable energy sources, and to reduce the U.S. military’s dependence on petroleum, during a ceremony, here, Wednesday.
“The Army continues to investigate technologies and partnerships that give the U.S. a decisive advantage,” said Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, commander, USARPAC.
“These fuel cell vehicles will help move the U.S. Army in the Pacific toward a sustainable path that reduces energy security challenges and strengthens our energy independence.”
During the ceremony at historic Palm Circle, here, officials from the services — comprised of USARPAC, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Marine Corps Forces-Pacific —government leaders, including Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, Sen. Daniel Inouye, and Honolulu mayor Peter Carlisle, and industry partners, demonstrated the use of the 16 General Motors hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The zero-emission vehicles, funded by the Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center, Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratories, are being tested in Hawaii’s ideal climate for real-world conditions reflecting each service’s needs.
“Our pursuit of alternative energy is closely tied to our commitment to continually adapt to an ever-changing security environment,” said George Kailiwai, director, Resources and Assessment, PACOM.
“Defense relationships and military approaches alone can’t solve all of our energy challenges, but they underpin the initiatives we’re taking within the Department of Defense to reduce the dependence on foreign sources of energy,” Kailiwai added.
The military fleet of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles serves as the test platform powered by renewable hydrogen, travels up to 200 miles on a single charge, refuels in five minutes and produces zero emissions.
“The test data collected will be analyzed to make fuel cell technology practical in future operational platforms,” said James Muldoon, science officer, USARPAC.
“The development of fuel cell vehicles and an associated transportation infrastructure on which new military and civilian fleets can be tested and employed will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help move our state and country forward,” Inouye said. “Hawaii is uniquely situated to benefit from the shift toward electric and fuel cell vehicles.”
The Army actively seeks and supports industry partnerships to increase compatible renewable energy development. Fielding of military fuel cell vehicles with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines is the latest effort of the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative, a partnership among 13 agencies, companies and universities.
“Once the key hydrogen infrastructure elements are proven in Hawaii, other states can adopt a similar approach,” said Charles Freese, executive director, global fuel cell activities, General Motors, a founding partner of the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative. “The military is paving the way, demonstrating the practicality and applicability of this technology.”
Learn more about the initiative at www.hydrogen2hawaii.com.