The US Department of Defense (DOD) announced plans last week to install 18 backup fuel cell power systems at eight military bases across the country.
Together with the Department of Energy‘s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the DOD will test how the fuel cells perform in real-world conditions and identify any potential technical improvements.
As well as highlighting the benefits of fuel cells and accelerating their deployment, the $6.6 million project will also identify areas of future research to further improve the technology.
The DOD currently uses diesel generators for backup power, but fuel cells require no petrol, are quieter, produce fewer emissions and typically need less maintenance.
But fuel cells are more expensive than other options. So one aim of the project is to improve economies of scale and drive down costs.
“The shared vision of the DOE and the DOD for a safe, secure energy future provides us with a strong foundation to work together on specific technologies,” says Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Projects like these fuel cell systems will help reduce fossil fuel use and improve energy reliability at military installations across the country.”
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27 July 2011