Ponca City, We Love You writes: "US Marines, long known as innovators, are using cutting-edge energy technology that promises to make them leaner, meaner and a whole lot greener as the NY Times reports that in Afghanistan, with enemy fighters increasingly attacking American fuel supply convoys crossing the Khyber Pass from Pakistan, the military is pushing aggressively to develop, test and deploy renewable energy to decrease its need to transport fossil fuels. “Fossil fuel is the No. 1 thing we import to Afghanistan,” says Ray Mabus, the Navy secretary, “and guarding that fuel is keeping the troops from doing what they were sent there to do, to fight or engage local people.” The 150 Marines of Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, will be the first to take renewable technology into a battle zone, bringing portable solar panels that fold up into boxes; energy-conserving lights; solar tent shields that provide shade and electricity; solar chargers for computers and communications equipment replacing diesel and kerosene-based fuels that would ordinarily generate power to run their encampment. The new goal of the Devil Dogs is to make the more peripheral sites sustain themselves with the kind of renewable technology carried by Company I, since solar electricity can be generated right on the battlefield. The renewable technology that will power Company I costs about $50,000 to $70,000; a single diesel generator costs several thousand dollars. But when it costs hundreds of dollars to get each gallon of traditional fuel to base camps in Afghanistan, the investment is quickly defrayed. “It’s going to make Marines more lethal because they will be able to move from one place to the other without having to wait for a logistics convoy to follow them around on the battlefield,” says Capt. Adorjan Ferenczy, an engineer officer at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab."
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