Print 40 comment(s) - last by JediJeb.. on Jul 14 at 5:17 PM

  (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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RE: Vast computing power?
By afkrotch on 7/13/2010 8:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
Each system itself probably has less power than a netbook. Combined overall, it's still probably less than a dual-core netbook.

They probably should have reworded the sentence to like,"vast amount of electronic systems." The systems don't have a lot of computing power, but there's definitely a lot of systems overall.

RE: Vast computing power?
By Zingam on 7/14/2010 2:20:14 AM , Rating: 1
If it is an old electronics it may consume a lot of energy. It is not a consumer electronics that is replaced twice a year and it it works it won't be fixed. With consumer electronics the developer does not need to worry that it will kill somebody if it fails. That's why my Garmin is so unreliable! Expensive piece of shit!

RE: Vast computing power?
By JediJeb on 7/14/2010 5:17:23 PM , Rating: 2
Just the cooling on the computer system in an M1 would take a lot of power, those things can get very hot inside. Also you have to figure the power needed for laser range finders, UV and IR targeting scopes, along with the gyros on the gun that keeps it aligned while the tank is moving. All those are considered the computing systems I would imagine. All that together would probably pull more power than even your top of the line gaming PC right now, not really comparable to a netbook when you consider more than just the CPU in the systems.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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