Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks to attendees at the 2011 Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, DC. | Energy Department photo.
A program funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) in partnership with the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) is advancing the development of technologies that will help keep troops cool, while reducing the military’s current need for fuel. Keeping our soldiers cool is critical for the extreme conditions where they operate, but an estimated 25 percent of fuel used by Marines in Afghanistan went to heating and cooling structures -- creating an added security risk for troops delivering fuel to the front lines.
To help decrease military fuel use, the ARPA-E BEETIT program (short for "Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices”) partnered with Navy to advance HVAC technologies that use 20-50 percent less fuel than current systems. The initiative recently announced more than $8.5 million in new investments to five companies working to transform the efficiency of military equipment.
What would this technology actually look like?
One awardee is developing equipment that would use 20-50 percent less fuel than existing cooling systems on military bases in hot, humid climates. Dais' energy-efficient, compact dehumidification system uses a polymer membrane that allows moisture (but not air) to pass through, allowing for water vapor to be efficiently removed from humid air. The result? Dehumidified air that can be cooled using far less fuel than current technology.
ARPA-E’s focus on military energy applications doesn’t end with the Navy BEETIT initiative — this year’s Energy Innovation Summit will feature a keynote speech by DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar, in addition to two military and Defense Department-focused panels. The panel “Are There Military Applications in Your Future?” will focus on informing companies on how to advance into defense supply contracts, and feature speakers from Deloitte, Honeywell and DoD’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program.
Another panel, “Energy as a Tactical Advantage: Next-Generation Requirements from the Theater” will bring together speakers from the Navy and Air Force to discuss the Defense Department’s long-term objectives and the technological innovations required to face changing energy markets, fiscal needs and evolving military threats. Conference attendees will also be able to meet representatives from the nation's top federal agencies (including the military and Defense Department) at the Government Agency Networking Program.
Registration is open for the 2013 Energy Summit, held February 25-27. Visit www.arpae-summit.com for more information and to register.