U.S. Army launches new laboratory to study alternative energyApril 12, 2012
The U.S. Army is continuing its pursuit of alternative energy with the launching of its new Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory (GDSPEL).
The facility began operation this week and will be responsible for researching advanced military technologies with a focus on energy. Hydrogen fuel cells and hybrid energy systems will get a great deal of attention as the Army has taken a keen interest in these two fields of power recently. The facility sprawls more than 30,000 square feet, in which eight research laboratories and one of the world’s largest environmental testing chambers inhabit.
The U.S. military has been experimenting with alternative energy at the direction of the Department of Defense.
The agency has highlighted energy as a matter of national security and has been working to promote sustainability, energy efficiency, and energy independence. Rising tensions with the Middle East are one of the reasons behind the efforts of the Department of Defense. Potential conflict with Middle Eastern countries could put significant strain on the country’s energy supply if more focus is not granted to alternative energy systems.
Hydrogen has been a favorite of the military recently. Both the Navy and the Ari Force have been experimenting with fuel cells in Hawaii and consider hydrogen to be a promising alternative to fossil-fuels. GDSPEL will be continuing the experiments conducted by these two branches in the hopes of making more progress in fuel cell technology. Researchers will be working to make fuel cells more efficient and affordable while also finding ways to increase their performance. The laboratory is expected to focus its work in hydrogen fuel cells on how the energy systems can be used for transportation.
The GDSPEL facility will work with other military-sponsored laboratories around the country to conduct tests of new technology and investigate changes in the environment. Any developments in alternative energy produced by GDSPEL are not likely to find their way to commercial industries for several years, but the Department of Defense has expressed interest in cooperating with alternative energy companies in order to help grant renewable fuels more momentum in the U.S.