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Raytheon to Work on Solar Powered Generators for Navy

One of the issues that Afghanistan has raised for the U.S. and its Coalition partners is the high cost of fuel and also the difficulties in transporting it. Due to the terrain and mine/IED threat much of the supplies and people needed are moved by air. This greatly increases the cost of a gallon of fuel at its final destination point. Demand for this commodity is not only driven by the need to power vehicles but also to generate the large amounts of electricity needed for modern combat systems.

To counter this the U.S. Department of Defense has been investing in different types of renewable energy to see if it may be used to supplement their standard diesel powered generators. This has included fuel cells, solar power and other ideas to reduce reliance on those units. Generators also provide large noise and heat signatures which could aid in enemy targeting of facilities and bases.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) continuing this trend recently awarded Raytheon (RTN) a contract to work on hybrid solar/diesel generators to support deployed U.S. Marine Corps troops.

The goal of the two year demonstration contract is to work on prototypes with the potential of a further contract to build a working full scale system.

While some have criticized the Pentagon for the amount it is spending on green fuels and renewable energy for uses such as this it makes sense as it will lessen the logistic burden as well as reducing threats through lower signatures.

Photo from USAG-Humphrey’s Flickr Photostream.

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