How chemistry can help power the U.S. military

It takes a lot of energy to power the U.S. military – the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the Air Force. With 300,000 buildings on its military installations, which rack up about $4 billion a year in energy costs, it’s no wonder the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is our country’s largest energy consumer.

In recent years, though, DoD has also been at the forefront of efforts to drive energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energy.

According to a 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between DoD and the Department of Energy (DOE),

Energy efficiency can serve as a force multiplier, increasing the range and endurance of forces in the field while reducing the number of combat forces diverted to protect energy supply lines, as well as reducing long-term energy costs. . . . Solving military challenges through energy innovation has the potential to yield spin-off technologies that benefit the civilian community as well.

These changes come to life in many ways. From reduced energy consumption to increased efficiency across platforms and facilities, DoD agencies are coming together in the implementation of a more effective and efficient energy policy.

For example, the DoD’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) recently announced 27 new projects to demonstrate emerging energy technologies on military installations. Private firms, universities, federal organizations, and research labs have all partnered up to fulfill five critical energy technology needs:

  • Smart microgrids and energy storage;
  • Advanced component technologies to improve building energy efficiency;
  • Advanced building energy management and control technologies;
  • Tools and processes for design, assessment, and decision-making associated with energy use;
  • Technologies for renewable energy generation on installations.

As one of the leading enablers of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies, chemistry plays a major role in DoD’s efforts to implement these initiatives. From fuel-efficient technology for vehicles to products that contribute to “net-zero” energy building goals, the chemistry industry continues to develop innovative solutions that improve energy efficiency for DoD and other agencies. Our industry looks forward to supporting the U.S. military’s efforts to safeguard our troops and our country with current and future chemistry innovations.

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