"Greening" Forces for Victory

Discussion in 'World Armed Forces' started by Finn McCool, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. Finn McCool
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    Finn McCool Captain

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    I've been thinkng about this for a while, and the more I think about it the more I come to the same conclusion. The main limits on the militaries of 1st world countries are logistical/economic. For example the main day-today issue for the US military in Iraq is not so much the actions of the enemy but the business of supplying its soldiers. The main strategic issuse is the war's massive cost.

    Both of these issues could be reduced if the military were to make a concious effort to switch to renewable/no-petroleum fuel sources. There are massive strategic benefits to this.
    • Reduced logistical dependence on the transport of millions of gallons of fuel.
    • Eliminating dependence on fuel that is vital to all military operations but located in potentially volatile or hostile places like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Iran.
    • Keeping costs of military operations down (and thus making them more politically acceptable) by ending the need to purchase said millions of gallons of petroleum.
    • Shifting the long-term strategic paradigm away from oil. A nation with a green-fuel military will not need to worry about the actions of rivals directed at oil producing parts of the world.

    The list goes on. Right now the limits to this are technological. But we know that the world's militaries are the most effective R&D organizations in modern day society. The strategic benefits to a non-petroleum based military are as I said massive. So why has this not happened?

    I'd also like to hear anyone's ideas about possible technolgies that could allow the world's militaries to move away from needing oil.

    This is mainly directed at the West but China stands to benefit too.
     
  2. sumdud
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    sumdud Senior Member
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    I don't think batteries(longevity issue) or hydrogen is the way to go. They are rather unreliable and/or explosive when hit.

    Stuff that burns are everywhere, so for the close future, I would suggest a multifuel engine (direct injection, six stroke, with stroke/length of pistol extended. :D)
     
  3. Norfolk
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    Norfolk Junior Member
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    Good post Finn.

    The possible strategic advantages afforded by the replacement or drastic reduction of reliance upon fossil fuels, POL, and the like are extremely difficult to overstate. Not only might it reduce the logistics tail for military formations/units (potentially), but it would remove or greatly reduce strategic vulnerability to disprutions in the supply of petroleum. Not less than this, it would also reduce the temptation to intervene in places across the world that would otherwise not attract such unwanted attentions.

    As Sumdud says, known alternative energy sources cannot for the foreseeable future replace petroleum. But certain military research institutions, such as DARPA, have rather good records in R&D (while some others don't). Of course, besides political opposition, there may be some barriers to such research in the form of patents and the like on alternative energy sources being owned by major energy corporations. But the potential for R&D into matters such as this by DARPA and its likes offer intriguing possbilities.
     
  4. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    so is gas... and just about every other fuel. hydrogen gets a bad rap because of the Hindenburg when the true culprit in that was the rocket fuel used as a doping compound painted on the hull. hydrogen burns up which has a safety benefit as you know where the energy is going. straight up!

    A hybrid multi fuel offers the best options for the short term. US forces have a number of prototypes of both developmental and modified existing vehicles that run on Diesel electric hybrid offering increased range improved heat and sound signatures for the short term I think that is what you are going to see take over in the first and second world army's at least until some time in the 2070's by then the first world will have settled on some thing else and it will filter down through as all all gear does.

    A greener Long term is needed some thing that offers no pollution and better power capabilities.
     
    #4 TerraN_EmpirE, Oct 29, 2007
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2007
  5. Finn McCool
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    Finn McCool Captain

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    What about ethanol? Corn ethanol is not really an efficent fuel source (and a sham that's being forced on America :mad:) but sugarcane is quite efficent. I would imagine that even tanks could use ethanol mixed with gasoline.

    The "holy grail" of ethanol technology is cellulose ethanol, which could be made from agricultural waste, and (theoretically) would be the most efficent of the three. To date efficent use of cellulose ethanol has not been invented by scientists but I imagine DARPA or a similiar organization, with their massive scientific base and budgets would be able to succed where even modestly funded scientific research companies/foundations have been able to have some success.
     
  6. sumdud
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    sumdud Senior Member
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    Militarily speaking I don't think it's a good choice, since it tends to return poor power and economy (I guess that doesn't matter in the US since we have great logistics and are gas guzzlers anyway.)

    But modifying tanks and mil-vehicles for gasohol shouldn't be too hard as American cars already have this technology.

    Diesel have great torque, needed for offroad and towing.

    Come to think of it, if kids are playing with Hydrogen on Youtube, then I guess it's not that bad (It was its use on the Space Shuttle that turned me off, not Hindenburg in my case.) But they are still more explosive than gas. I think there should be a weak point in hydrogen tanks for safety reasons.
    I don't like battery cars in general since their batteries die out.
     
  7. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    Ethanol is more of a civy fuel concept the us Military thus far is looking at Diesel based or biodiesel in hybrid vehicles the battery's are in a state of recharge based on braking and stop and go traffic. they could be boosted by adding solar to the vehicle but thats conjectural.

    a few things to look at.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_RST-V
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_FTTS
    http://www.defense-update.com/features/du-3-05/feature-HED-afv.htm
    http://www.defense-update.com/products/a/AHED.htm
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKN2640141120071027
     
    #7 TerraN_EmpirE, Oct 31, 2007
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2007
  8. Finn McCool
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    Finn McCool Captain

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    I would think that solar panels would be a good choice for UAVs/long range patrol aircraft since they don't need very good performance and would be able to stay in the air indefinately.
     
  9. sumdud
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    sumdud Senior Member
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    Yea, but can the power created by the panel be enough to sustain the power continously? And of course, there's night.

    Which brings to the point: How did Helios stay aloft at night? Was it batteries?

    I guess you can have an "ultralight" hang-glider with a mono-boom to the rear and propellors behind the wing. I don't know why, but I just don't feel very confident on solar panels as a powerful energy source.
     
  10. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    actually yes.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helios_Prototype system also uses a light weight Hydrogen fuel cell system as a battery for night flights or lithium ion batterys.
    thus far they have been deployed in a number of civilian and military roles but they do have there weaknesses mostly they still seem a supplementary power source as the technology needed to make massive power is still a Bond movie plot line. but that does not mean that many roles are out of the picture just look at all the satellites wearing the bright and shiny skin of solar cells.
     
    #10 TerraN_EmpirE, Jan 23, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
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