Army Goes Greener

Army Goes Greener

The Army wants to trim its skyrocketing energy bills at the many posts that dot the country with new solar projects, wind power, investments in bio-fuels and energy conservation. The service realizes, along with much of the rest of the nation, that switching to low consumption light bulbs alone is not going to solve the energy problem.

Over the past seven years, the Army’s energy consumption has dropped by nearly 8 percent but its energy costs have gone up an alarming 40 percent, said Keith Eastin, assistant Army secretary for Installations and Environment, speaking at the Army’s annual convention this week in Washington, D.C. The Army currently spends $2 billion annually on fuel and another $1 billion for electricity. Much of that fuel is pumped into the massive generators that power forward operating bases in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan

The service’s announced intentions are certainly admirable. “The Army plans to increase efficiency and serve as a model for the military and the nation when it comes to the operation of our housing, buildings, and forward operating bases,” Eastin said. The Army will use its considerable purchasing power to push green projects that might not otherwise receive needed money.

Extra power produced by the new initiatives, such as solar and wind, will be sold into the local electric grid. “We will become a net installation exporter of energy,” from its on-base solar farms Eastin said. Profits from the sale of that excess power would be returned to the Army. The massive amounts of unused acreage on the Army’s installations beg for solar and wind projects, “we have a resource the rest of the country can use to produce additional electricity,” Eastin said. At sun drenched Ft. Irwin in California’s Mojave Desert, the Army is partnering with the private sector to construct a 500 megawatt solar thermal plant.

The Army has a garrison fleet of 60,000 vehicles, mostly pickup trucks and SUVs, that are restricted to speed limits below 30 miles per hour while on base. Driving around in large SUVs that never leave second gear doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, said Paul Bollinger, who is the Army’s senior energy executive. The Army is buying up 4,000 small Neighborhood Electric Vehicles for use by base maintenance and operations staff. Bollinger said they figured why not skip over hybrid vehicles and go all the way to electric and perhaps help jump start an entire industry.

The service is also exploring the potential for using small nuclear reactors to power stateside bases. “If you can run a huge carrier on a small nuclear power plant there’s no reason we can’t run a large installation on one,” Eastin said.

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This sounds awesome. If the army can really pill this off it just may give a badly needed kick in the pants to industry R.& D.

Why doesn’t the army(and all the military bases for that matter) invest in biodiesel stills. If all the waste grease from the chow halls were turned into biodiesel,(which costs $.90 gal to make) imagine all the savings for the army.

AFT !!!

Thermal depolymerization has been proven in Arkansas, and has been shown to produce Grade 2 fuel oil, which can be further refined for other things as well.



The Military machine is alive and well.. Very few people actually comprehend.

Perhaps and I am only speculating .. War is money?


I remember back in the 70s when the military tried to save energy costs by turning down thermostats to 68 degrees in the winter and turning up the thermostats to 75 degrees in the summer for all family housing, barracks and buildings. All it did was cause military members and their families to get sick. I don’t think they saved a thing at the expense of their personnel and families.

Buy’em bicycles! great for weight reduction & pumanary.

Fort Hood and the city of Killeen started building a bio/trash power plant just outside the base a few weeks ago. It is supposed to take 5 years to build. It’ll produce 50 megawatts of power cheaper than normal power, produce gasoline or diesel, and its supposed to be zero emissions. It’ll also save the base and the city a ton on dumping fees since it runs on solid waste.

With all the chow halls why not use all that used cooking oil turned into biofuel most military vehicles and generators are diesel so a 50/50 mix would work and recycle used motor oil and use contamenated used aviation fuel just clean andreuse in modified on base generators​.As for mini-reactors why not only problem would be some countries are anti-nuke and you would have to worry about protesters and terrorist.Put up one or more wind turbines and solar cell on barricks and buildings.

considering the armed forces steep technological advantage over the civilian world its about time the develop energy saving manners of operation. As for the first comment, This should in turn result in a large amount of information for research and development of energy saving ways of transportation. Now is transportation the only way we are wasting energy? although at first it wouldnt be cost efficient an entirely “green” running base would in turn save money in the long run Its my assumption this is the goal for the long run.

The idea of mini nuke plants on US CONUS (Continental United States) bases is actually quite sensible: in how many years and how many hours of operation has the USN ever lost a CVN, CGN, SSN, or SSBN to a reactor meltdown?

If they can develop those things that small to effective work 20 years or so without major maintenance overhaul, this is actually a good idea then.

And that’s the sell point to a public who fears nuclear accidents: ships have sailed the oceans for decades on nuclear power (how many combined hours of operation without a major mishap?),
so utilizing the same nuke tech in smallform base reactors should be plenty safe.

The only trick is getting the permits for the vehicles bringing new fuel rods across civilian roads into the bases, and in offloading the spent rods (radioactive waste).

As for wind and solar power on military bases: they have merits also, but 300–400 foot high wind turbines will hamper flight activities (especially at night), and the glare off large solar panel arrays during sunny days can blind pilots.

The mini nukes are a fine choice, and any security issues can be dismissed by putting them into the most controlled areas: every base has at least one area where only the top-most security clearance personnel can enter.

For a back up plan,
as much waste as any given US installation creates (food scrap, sewer, shredded paper, etc), cogeneration plants that can extract biodiesel then clean-burn the remaining biomass to heat steam turbines is a good alternative.

Why doesn’t the Army get into the coal to oil conversion program just like an Air Force base out west is doing, once they have this system set up they will be producing nice clean fuel made from coal for $35.00 (thats dollars) per barrel and the environmentalist instigators won’t be able to stick their nose into a military base.

The Army should be talking to the Air Force. There are giant solar collection fields on Nellis AFB at Las Vegas. Nellis has been using electric golf carts on base for years.
I wonder what the Navy is doing.

DOD needs to do something DOD wide to promote alternative energy.

The problem with both Solar and “Biotrash” burning is that the user pretty much has to stay connected to the source.

Thermal depolymerisation produces storable, portable, useable Grade-2 fuel oil. :P


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