United States Army has started the development and application
of hydrogen fuel-cell technology to their vehicles. The
first vehicle to receive this technology will be the workhorse M1
Abrams battle tank. This type of tank requires vast amounts of
onboard computing power for sensors, computing equipment, battle
command technology and other electronic equipment, so using fuel cell
technology would be able to provide greater electrical power than the
current setup, which is a diesel engine/alternator arrangement.
addition, the use of a fuel cell would make the tank's motor run in
near silence. This is a particularly helpful feature since enemy
combatants can hear the current model's 1,000+hp multi fuel turbine
engine from miles away, and with a silent engine, the tank can sneak
into certain territory relatively unheard.
use of a fuel cell would be convenient as well because the hydrogen
would be extracted from JP-8 diesel fuel onboard and converted into
electricity, meaning that "the current refueling infrastructure
would remain in place."
of now, the testing of fuel cells in tanks exists only in the
laboratory. The idea is to find a way to power multiple fleets of
military vehicles with fuel cells "that use non-petroleum
sources." There have been problems with having to deliver fuel
through dangerous war zones and across two large countries. Providing
security for the transport
vehicles to assure that they get to the desired destination
in order to fuel the tanks has become more than a thorn in their
side, and fuel cell technology could possibly eliminate these
isn't the Army's first effort toward greener technology, though. In
May of this year, HP was in the process of developing a "Dick
that uses solar panels for the U.S. military. Also, a
Army aircraft that resembles a blimp and can travel for
three weeks at a time unmanned, was designed and will be sent to
Afghanistan by mid 2011.