For the U.S. Military, hydrogen energy has become a major focus. Last year, the Department of Defense outlined plans to pursue alternative energy projects, with a specific interest in hydrogen. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Navy announced plans to investigate further applications of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The Marine Corps Base in Hawaii will serve as a testing ground for these vehicles, as it is currently home to tests with General Motor’s Equinox fuel cell vehicle. The new tests will be funded by the Office of Naval Research.
According to the Office of Naval Research, 70% of the vehicles used by the Navy will be powered by hydrogen by 2015. Currently, the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii is home to the most hydrogen-powered vehicles in the country and serves as an example for other military installations looking to adopt alternative energy transportation. The Navy will be conducting more hydrogen-based experiments at the Marine base in the future, including an unmanned aircraft that can travel for 24 hours without needing to refuel.
The Navy is currently working toward its goal of generating more than 50% of its energy through sustainable fuels by 2020. Hydrogen is quickly becoming the most viable way to accomplish this goal, as fuel cells are remarkably efficient and reliable. The costs of fuel cells, however, have hampered their incorporation into the military, which could threaten to push back the Navy’s goal somewhat if the focus remains on hydrogen energy.