NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.--U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus can measure the cost of transporting oil to combat missions in dollars and in lives.
Mabus gave the keynote talk today at the ARPA-E Summit here, where he announced an agreement between the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to create energy storage systems geared at providing reliable power and reducing fossil fuel use.
His talk followed speeches by Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and representative Steve Israel of New York, who both highlighted the importance to national security of fossil fuel alternatives.
The Navy has a program, launched in fall 2009 and called the "Great Green Fleet," to convert 50 percent of its energy to fossil fuel alternatives by 2020 and to have half of the Navy's thousands of bases become net energy zero consumers. It's a reference to the "Great White Fleet," the nickname used under President Theodore Roosevelt for a battle fleet which circled the globe almost 100 years ago.
"Every time we make changes to improve the efficiencies of our engines or systems or we use alternative sources of power, we get better and we make people safer," Mabus said.
In the agreement between the Departments of Defense and Energy, the Navy plans to take advantage of grid storage technologies developed in the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The cost of the project would be $25 million and start in fiscal year 2012.
The first project will seek to develop hybrid storage systems with higher energy density than what's available in batteries today. Mabus said the technology could lead to mobile storage units for charging military equipment at bases or be used to reduce fuel consumption in vehicles. … Read more