Defence

ONR is testing a prototype to power the Marines in expeditionary conditions

U.S. Marines often operate in extremely difficult conditions – including on remote islands, hot deserts, harsh mountains and frozen, barren landscapes.

Although these fighters use sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment and weapons in the field, such tools require a large amount of fuel and energy – a serious demand in harsh operating conditions.

To address this issue, the Global TechSolutions program of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring the Lincoln Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) lab efforts to convert aluminum to hydrogen fuel, which could potentially serve as a portable, readily available power source.

TechSolutions is ONR Global’s fast-paced science and technology program that develops technology prototypes to address issues voiced by sailors and marines, typically within about 12 months of starting a project.

The Marines recently saw a demonstration of the TechSolutions project, which included a prototype fuel-producing device – the Hydrogen Tactical Refueling (H-TaRP) – at Lejeune Marine Base Camp, North Carolina. Part of this demonstration included Marines who were trained to assemble H-TaRP and also received a static demonstration of how H-TaRP equipment works. Marines learned how to get hydrogen with H-TaRP.

“ONR Global TechSolutions joined the H-TaRP when Marines expressed a desire to obtain fuel in an expeditionary environment,” said Jason Payne, ONR Global TechSolutions Program Director. “TechSolutions took the concept and turned to our network of vendors to create this solution, and MIT was selected as a result of a competitive process. TechSolutions has provided the resources needed to develop a prototype validation concept. ”

When Marines are in the field, their energy options are usually based on oil or batteries. Batteries are effective, but can weigh a lot and need to be constantly charged from a power source.

H-TaRP – which includes an aluminum dispenser, reactor vessel, water cooling system and collector control system to fill the H2 tank – can solve these energy problems with a lighter and faster system that will ultimately ease the load for the Marines.

“The goal of H-TaRP is to eliminate the need to transport diesel and recharge batteries by being able to use local resources to produce hydrogen fuel for all types of vehicles,” said Eric Limpacher, head of energy systems at the Lincoln Institute of Technology. .

Using simple chemistry, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used the reaction of aluminum mixed with water to produce hydrogen gas. Any form of water acts in a chemical reaction: ocean salt water, river water, even urine. This allows you to potentially use H-TaRP in a variety of environments.

In addition, because the steam remains after the process of creating hydrogen fuel, it can be distilled and used for drinking and hydration.

This model of energy logistics has many advantages over traditional liquid fuels. The use of this special aluminum as a precursor to hydrogen fuel allows you to store and transport inert solids instead of liquid fuel or pressurized gas, which greatly increases safety. Hydrogen is also compatible with the use of fuel cells that do not create noise and thermal characteristics associated with internal combustion engines.

“Looking ahead to the battlefield of the 21st century, Marines will be detached from their logistics many times over,” said Major Steve Simmons, who commanded the Marines during a demonstration at Camp Lejeune. “We believe our logistics lines will be too long to be effective to provide immediate support to the Marines. Looking at the battlefields for the next 100 years, we see the need for readily available resources to convert to natural energy. ”

During the demonstration, the junior Marines received a short tutorial on assembling the H-TaRP system, and fire teams of up to four fighters practiced assembling it a couple of times. After one iteration, they assembled the system in just 13 minutes – showing that the H-TaRP device can be deployed quickly with minimal training. The Marines also gave feedback and advice and showed MIT engineers the process of assembling their system from two people.

Future plans for the H-TaRP include expanding operations and generating high-pressure H2, as well as reducing the device by 50%, aligning it with the Marine Commandant’s vision of deploying Marine units with greater mobility and agility.



Video: Demo version of H-TaRP


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https://www.oilgasdaily.com/reports/Making_Hydrogen_fuel_anywhere_ONR_tests_prototype_to_power_Marines_in_expeditionary_environments_999.html ONR is testing a prototype to power the Marines in expeditionary conditions

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