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  (Source: Elite Nomads)
Army looks for ways to use fuel cells with non-petroleum sources

The 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. 

In 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. 

The 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." 

As 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 worries. 

This 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 Tracy-like" watch that uses solar panels for the U.S. military. Also, a new hybrid 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. 


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By namechamps on 7/13/2010 4:25:46 PM , Rating: 2
The turbine engine on the M1 is a massive fuel hog. Previous an M1 stationary had to spin up turbine about once ever couple hours to recharge batteries. This creates a massive drain in diesel (like using your car engine to power a vacuum cleaner).

So the M1 now has an APU. A small 330cc rotary engine (smaller that most motorcycle engines) is mounted behind the turret. It provides electrical power from sensors, radios, electronics, and hydraulics. The tank can do everything except move with just the APU.

The fuel cell APU would replace the diesel APU. Essentially a tiny generator. It doesn't have to be massive and it wouldn't replace the main turbine engine. A fuel cell a tiny fraction of that used in the Honda FCX would be sufficient to power the tank electrical demands.

By shin0bi272 on 7/14/2010 1:38:36 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the info that does put things in a different light.

But it would be nice to see the M1 get a little bit better mileage. Doesnt it get like 8mpg or something? I mean if you have to have a parade of fuel trucks supporting your tank you really cant conduct a long drawn out war. So a better fuel economy might not be so bad.

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