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Tactical Advantages Of The Use Of Renewable Energies In Military Applications

Tactical Advantages Of The Use Of Renewable Energies In Military Applications
In preparation of Javelin Thrust 2012, Marines from Marine Forces Reserve and 2nd Tank Battalion, learn to setup and operate the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network System and the Solar Portable Alternative Communications Energy System during a training session conducted by personnel from Marine Forces Pacific Experimentation Center, June 28, 2012. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Diane Durden)

The Following research paper is writen by one of our editor and it will focus on the advantages of using renewable energies in military applications.

Abstract— Renewable is the future. Just like all other sectors in the world the militaries around the world are also making a transition to clean energies. In this report, we will focus on the tactical advantages of the use of renewable energies in the modern military applications. The United States is currently playing a leading role globally in the defense sector. So, in this paper, we mainly focus on the policies and actions that the United States Department of Defense is taking to address the new evolving military-energy challenges.


Energy is an essential yet costly element in military operational success. Right now, fossil fuels play a great role in military operations and defense strategies.

1.1 Importance of renewable energies in militaries

The use of renewable energy resources instead of fossil offers the opportunity to enhance both the military effectiveness and reduction of the environmental impact that happens due to fossil fuel overconsumption. Renewable energy resources can help militaries to become more energy independent and by investing in renewable energies, the defense sector can not only save millions, but they can also enhance operational success, security, warfighting efficiency, and environmental awareness. Nowadays world militaries are also responding to environmental and energy challenges and downplaying its role in developing renewable energy solutions for the future.

1.2 Historical linkage of war and energy

Energy has played a vital role in the outcomes of wars. Before the 19th century most of the war were land wars that were fought by foot soldiers with simple weapons (swords etc.) that do not require large amounts of energy embodied in arms and equipment, but in modern wars are fought with energy-intensive weaponry whose deployment and functioning depends upon on the supply of fossil fuels (e.g., oil & gas). Nowadays wars are not a contest between machines and most of the machines require energy to function. The change in wars from men to machines occurred first at sea when steam engines were used in warships. On land, this change took longer. In the 19th century, the railway started carrying men and their supplies to the scene of battle but on the battlefield, only men and horses carried the weapons into the battle. With the invention of the petroleum-driven internal combustion engine, everything changed as humans used machines on land in the air to change the outcome of wars. World War I ended with the fierce battles on both land and in air, being dominated using energy. The following example shows how energy influences military strategy. In 1911, Winston Churchill converted the Royal Navy fleet from coal to oil. As a result, there was an increase in the speed of the fleet and a reduction in the logistical burden that give the Royal Navy a critical advantage over its enemy. The less smoky combustion of oil in comparison to dark coal smoke combustion made the Royal Navy fleet difficult to detect that played a decisive role in the resulting victory of the Royal Navy. The Energy’s link to the battles in WWII was focused on the denial of energy resources to the enemy and securing its own energy resources supply chains. Since WWII the skills of supply chain and logistics have grown significantly. In the 21st century, the energy figure plays as a strategic factor and a tactical consideration in war. For example, the energy intensity of warfighting grew by a factor of 16 and the oil-intensity of the individual soldier rose 2.6% annually from 1970 to 2010.

1.3 Defense and civilian energy

Non-military energy decision-making is largely focused on economic. The energy system is composed of privately-owned energy assets that follow the regulatory frameworks and public policies to provide sustainable energy supply and follow the environmental regulations to cope up with climate change, air pollution, and water quality. Military energy decision-making is more focused on achieving military mission goals and strategic mission objectives. The military in the world shows concerns about defense and energy and in some cases, these can collide with civilian energy security issues. For instance, in the case of petroleum, the International Energy Agency (IEA) member states are required to maintain strategic petroleum reserves to stabilize the global markets in times of crisis. However, these strategic energy reserves can be used for national purposes. In case of conflict scenarios where energy supply chains in threatened the military planners would wish to use these strategic reserves to meet military energy needs for national security. This will defiantly impact the global market. So, any conflict that disrupts the supply chain of energy resources can cause a lot of issues not only for civilians but for the military planners in the world. In short, civilian petroleum energy resources play a key role in economic security and act as a significant driver of our national security posture. The Military also plans operations for securing supply chain routes of the civilian energy resources. The U.S. and other nations deploy their military assets to secure these routes. June 2019 Gulf of Oman incident in which two oil tankers were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz while they were going through the Gulf of Oman. The incident raised tensions between Iran and the United States, the United States blamed Iran for the attacks. The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia and few other nations supported the United States’ accusation. In response to the incident, the United States deployed 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East.

1.4 Energy challenges for militaries

As mentioned above the military energy decision-making is more focused on achieving military mission success and strategic mission objectives. Energy resource considerations are an essential factor for armed forces in the world in mission planning. Every single thing the military does is related to energy. All major military weapons and communication equipment require continuous energy for a desired level of performance. But resupplying energy to these military assets in combat theaters and forward locations is not a simple task and it is a vulnerability that can be exploited, so the security of the supply chain and continuous supply is very important. Military policymakers also keep an eye on selecting energy resources options that strengthen the environmental objectives and are in accordance with Departmental and Federal guidelines. The defense sector has taken a leadership role in research and development in the procurement of emerging technologies, especially if they are applicable in combat theaters. Recently the role has expanded to include environmental impact considerations and resource efficiency. The focus on the resource efficiency has also increased the development of unique and out of box energy projects, including renewables, for areas as diverse as mini-grids & micro-grids for installations, to alternative fuels for major weapons systems such as aircraft and ships. Countries are approaching the new evolving military-energy challenges in different ways

1.5 Energy and modern defense planning

As technology evolves exponentially Energy and defense planning have become very complex. In the Twentieth Century, Energy and modern defense planning were mainly associated with the use of fossil fuels for troop and other weaponry movements. With the advent of modern technology, everything is changed and become so complex for example the use of nuclear energy for naval nuclear deterrence is an example of modern defense-energy planning. The nuclear fuel has made it possible for the submarines to hide in deep water awaiting orders to launch the onboard missiles. The nuclear reactor has made possible the second-strike capability through which the nuclear weapons system is able to deliver a retaliation strike. So nowadays with lethal strike weapons with a range of thousands of kilometers the energy and defense planning has become very complex and complicated.


2.1 Total energy requirements of military

As the single largest consumer of energy in the United States Department of Defense is the largest consumer of energy in the world. In 2007 DOD used 93% of all federal government fuel consumption with the Air Force using 52%, Navy using 33%, Army using 7% and other DoD used were around 1%.
DOD uses 4.6 billion gallons of fuel annually or an average of 12.6 million gallons of fuel each day. Most of the U.S. army’s energy cost comes from the 21 million barrels of petroleum used in their installations annually. The U.S. Airforce use over 2.4 billion gallons of jet fuel annually. In the fiscal year 2006, the DOD used 30 million megawatt-hours of electricity that cost around $2.2 billion, and almost 100% of electricity was supplied to DOD was from the civilian electric energy sources. According to USAF Energy Flight Plan, 2017 – 2036 the Air Force alone accounts for 48 % of the total DoD energy consumption and costs, with the vast majority of this spent on aviation fuel. This equates to approximately 2 billion gallons of aviation fuel and 64 trillion BTUs each year, as well as significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions—35 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. Yearly energy costs for the Air Force are upwards of $8 billion, with about 86 percent of those costs spent on aviation fuel. U.S. Air Force uses 10% of the nation’s aviation fuel. This fuel usage breaks down as such: 86% jet fuel, 11% facility management, and 3% ground vehicle/equipment.
The Air Force is the U.S. government’s leading user of solar energy and performing a visionary role in the creation of green energy. The Air Force is also listed as a Renewable Power Affiliate by the Environmental Protection Agency. The US Army has started green energy initiatives. One of the initiatives that started in Iraq is the tactical garbage to energy refinery program that will transform 1 short ton of waste into 11 US gall of JP-8 fuel. The Army has started the Net Zero initiative with the goal of reaching net-zero electricity at 30 sites by 2030. The U.S. Navy has also formed a Task Force on Energy to achieving energy priorities, which include reducing non-tactical usage of petroleum and generating at least 50% of shore-based energy from renewable sources by 2050. The Marine Corps has started an Expeditionary Energy Office that will focus on improving battle effectiveness by reducing the use of liquid fossil fuel by 50 % by 2025.

2.2 Potential Oil Supply Disruptions

Oil has influenced decades of regional conflict. According to a study between 1973 and 2012 around 25% to 50% of territorial conflicts had oil-related ties. The relation of oil to global war is, however, not well known. Oil markets are not only cyclical, but oil geopolitics are inexorably related to the same boom and bust market cycle. Disruptions of crude oil supply can have significant and immediate impacts on crude oil prices. Two recent events: the attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in September 2019 (which affected crude oil volumes) and the military operations in Iraq in January 2020 (which did not disturb crude oil volumes), The result was a comparatively significant shift in daily prices and intraday market movements — movements within single trading days. Front-month intraday prices Brent crude oil futures for the two incidents initially followed a relatively similar path: an upward trend as market players responded to the news and a downward movement as new knowledge was integrated.

2.3 Potential Electricity Supply Disruptions

The defense sector heavily relies on resources to meet its energy demands. Today, the primary source of energy is petroleum-based fuel, which is used for equipment, vehicles, and back-up power generation. Aside from its fuel requirement, the militaries depend heavily on electricity to support its installations, which is mainly generated by public utility companies and obtained through the commercial electric grid. Although electricity is produced using a mixture of fuel sources, the power grid is aging and vulnerable to natural disasters and attacks. These vulnerabilities affect all defense installations and present risks to how the militaries can successfully operate.

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2.4 Energy Distribution: Smart Grids and Microgrids

Research and construction of smart grids and microgrids in recent decades is how some countries have modernized their transmission and delivery networks to address the demands and opportunities facing the infrastructure, such as growing demand or higher levels of renewable energy supplies while retaining high-quality requirements in an effective manner, reliable, reliable, cost-efficient, and durable. The microgrid system is a small power supply system that consists of loads and distributed energy resources (DER), such as renewable energy (RE) sources, co-generation, combined heat and power (CHP) generation, fuel cell, and energy storage systems. Microgrids (MGs) which integrate distributed energy resources (DERs) at medium and low voltages are gaining importance due to the limitation of fossil fuels, environmental effects of fossil fuels, and high capital requirements of central power plants. MG can maximize electricity efficiency and stability, resilience, and economic advantages, and by adjusting the grid connection status, it can run continuously in grid-connected or island mode as well as double mode. In grid-connected mode, DER systems inside the MG can synchronize the frequency and voltage magnitude at their own terminals with the voltage of the utility grid and manage energy supply as needed by a central monitor and control unit (CMC). Regulation of the hybrid energy storage device becomes more complex and incorporation of power electronics interface control into the MG’s overall function is crucial. Many utilities are more involved in introducing the Smart Grid (SG) to address the demands and improvements. SGs are the newest type of grids, involving smart technology. Smart grids provide digital information and control, dynamic grid operation and resource optimization, distributed power demand responses, demand-side resources, energy efficiency (EE) services, smart metering system, smart integration, and advanced electricity storage compared to microgrids. In addition, smart grids have other advantages, such as faster security, self-healing regulated, more resilient, more sustainable, more effective, higher power quality, more reconfigurable, and higher ability. According to a report by Navigant Research that explores the market for military microgrids deployed by the US Department of Defense (DOD) notes that microgrids enable the government to enhance the protection of physical and cyber resources. The study also notes that the DOD will increase U.S. military expenditures on microgrids to $1 billion by 2026. Twentynine Palms, California city, will experience a $7.8 million expansion of the 10-MW military microgrid. The microgrid will be extended in the foundation, under this initiative. In addition, if the base loses local grid power, the microgrid will be able to continue operations with no interruption or downtime.

2.5 Energy Decision-Making for Military Installations

Energy is required for the energy services (heating, cooling, communications) needed at defense installations. In the fiscal year 2011, DoD used 224 trillion BTU of installation energy that almost cost of $4.1 billion. 95% of consumption was used by buildings, while 5% was used in non-tactical vehicles. 48% of installation energy was supplied by electricity and 32% of installation energy was supplied by natural gas. DoD has more than 500 installations worldwide with around 300,000 buildings. The Army, Airforce, and navy consumed 36%, 30, and 20% of installation energy respectively. All other DoD agencies utilized around 6%.
Growing awareness toward greenhouse gas emissions reduction has forced the U.S. government to strictly implement initiatives to reduce federal energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. These U.S. government regulations have also applied to DoD installations in the U.S. and abroad. DoD is also concerned about its heavy reliance on commercial infrastructure, specifically the U.S. electricity grid that is vulnerable to both accidents and intentional physical or cyber-attacks. Current methods of providing back-up power to DOD installations are highly inefficient and costly.

Because of these concerns, the DoD is looking to develop renewable energy deployment strategies to enhance facility energy management by partnering with federal agencies and private sector organizations to fund the R&D projects for renewable energy. Recent assessments of DoD reveal that there is a need for better data collection to measure performance across the portfolio of projects. It is essential that project challenges and performance data must be collected and documented so that both it is possible for institutions can learn from this data and improve efforts for better results.

The Net Zero energy goal should be the top priority for DoD projects. Defining a net-zero-energy military base is complicated. Here the Net Zero electricity evaluation and development strategy are outlined:

Project initiate: ensure support for leadership, create a team representing key stakeholders, identify project scope, and set a timeline.
Create energy and greenhouse gas baselines: Define implementation mission, regional limits, applicable energy-related regulations, and any particular energy specifications (e.g., efficiency, emergency performance, etc.); review annual (source) resources used by all specified mission-supporting sources; The nature and means of distribution; and get acquainted with already planned on-site energy ventures. A reference estimate of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is provided for later comparison with the emissions estimated for the proposed potential energy system (DoD has not announced its official GHG emission reduction objective yet; however, a tentative goal has been set internally and a final goal is planned to be published soon).
Reduce demand by human action: find ways to reduce excess resources while preserving or enhancing the efficiency of project execution by leveraging the installation personnel’s will, attention, and imagination.
Perform an energy management evaluation: Classify particular energy conservation programs on-site and their impact on the energy usage of installations.
Evaluating clean energy and demand reduction: Recognize projects Usage of renewable energy on-site for power and/or heat generation or use of renewable energy on-site for electricity and/or heat output.
Perform a transport evaluation: Define programs to reduce and eliminate the use of fossil fuel in fleet vehicles.
Perform an estimation of electrical infrastructure: Describe the impacts on electrical systems of the installation of proposed on-site green energy initiatives. Set forth the features of a smart micro-grid as specified by the project to support emergency operations in the event of a public grid failure.

2.6 Geostrategic Risk

Geostrategy, a subfield of geopolitics, is a kind of foreign policy guided mainly geographical factors as it advises, constrains, or influences political and military preparation. While the U.S. military energy needs are currently being met, there is a growing increased demand and limited capacity to access energy resources. Moreover, although a large proportion of U.S. energy supplies are generated domestically or in neighboring countries, energy occurs in a fungible, global market where even minor shifts in demand and supply fluctuations are felt worldwide. The narrowing gap between global supply and demand is rising competition for energy resources, which could lead to higher prices, higher conflict risk, and supply disruptions. The availability, or lack thereof, of energy resources, could cause drastic shifts in the stability and economic status of a country or area. As those changes occur, allies and adversaries’ intentions and activities may also change, potentially affecting national security. This interplay between “energy independence” and the geopolitical dynamics among energy-rich nations impacts military operations now and in the future.

2.7 Logistics Benefits through renewable energy

Renewable energies can have cost and risk advantages across the supply chain is viewed as a strategic advantage rather than a tactical expense. Renewable energy can provide energy supply that is more stable and reliable than fossil fuels, with potentially less associated risks such as volatility in commodity prices. The U.S. military set had temporary bases in Afghanistan and Iraq that operate on diesel fuel and to supply these bases with a continuous supply of fuel U.S had to move the fuel across war zones. According to a study by the Army, Environmental Policy Institute only in 2007 around 170 U.S. soldiers lost their lives while protecting fuel convoys in war zones. According to Retired Major General Rick Devereaux who is the former director of Operational Planning Policy and Strategy for the Air Force at the Pentagon “In Afghanistan, the estimate was that one out of every 24 fuel convoys suffered a casualty.” By following renewable energy solutions like microgrid and solar power soldiers U.S military can reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and can minimize such great life losses in warzones. Renewables on-site such as wind and solar can be combined with storage systems and fuel cells to provide continuous power for vital military operations and supply chain functions. An initiative like smart grids, Solar-powered soldiers can not only decrease the cost of military operations but can also make them logistics more secure against physical attack

2.8 Sabotage, Physical, and Cyberattack risk

The energy industry is entering the digital revolution and because of it, the energy sector is now facing threats of Sabotage, Physical, and Cyberattacks. Interviews with companies doing business in the energy sector revealed that they are faced daily with cyber-attacks. Only In 2014, the U.S. faced 245 attacks on U.S. industrial structures most of them occurred in the energy sector.

The use of network infrastructure and cyber-space manipulation for information and attack has been a common part of military activity. Cyberwarfare may include disrupting vital network networks and records, destroying sensitive facilities, and causing confusion and suspicion among opposing commanders and policymakers. Cyberwarfare can strike tactical as well as strategic targets from a distance using low-cost tools.

Cyber-attacks are unlikely to be definitive, and will not yield victory on their own, particularly against a big and powerful adversary. Yet they provide competitive benefits and will be part of the armed struggle in the future. The spectrum of cyber-attacks is virtually unlimited, such that it can be deployed anywhere the global network reaches. It has a multitude of distribution options, over networks, from specialized systems (ground, sea, air, space). If the planning is for a cyber-attack can belong, the real attack duration is determined in seconds regardless of the distance from the target. The cost of an attack is minimal, and attributes of surprise and stealth are important. In specific, cyber-attacks can disrupt the power of major industrial safety systems, or even cause collateral harm.


3.1 Efficient Military Instalments

The U.S. Defense Department and Energy Department established a joint effort to resolve the use of military resources by identifying concrete measures to minimize resource demand and increase the usage of renewable energy on DoD facilities.

How renewable energy making military bases more resilient: Renewable is the future and the U.S. military is trying to become energy-independent using renewable energy solutions. So, to make U.S. domestic military bases energy resilient, and secure in case of a natural disaster or manmade event, the Pentagon needed to maneuver toward energy sources that do not rely on fuel. So, the U.S. military is partnering with Southern Company that serves all four branches of the military, to develop innovative energy solutions, each on and off base, notably in solar energy. Many military bases have large pieces of vacant land that is ideal for solar panels installations. Till now, the company has installed around 14 solar facilities on different military bases within the Southeast, that generate over 400 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity.

Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, recently started construction on an 800-acre land, 139-megawatt solar facility project in Warner Robins, Georgia, adjacent to Robins Air Force Base. The facility is expected to incorporate over 500,000 solar panels. The military and different federal agencies, like NASA, are partnering with Southern Company for energy solutions exploitation liquified gas (LNG) and compressed gas (CNG). LNG and CNG are one of the cleanest alternative burning fuel, and it also improves safety, performance, and resilience. The U.S. military is also collaborating with Southern Company to introduce microgrid technology into their fence, through its subsidiary company Power Secure. Microgrids can give opportunities for both operational efficiencies and cost savings for larger bases with many essential buildings compared to unintegrated, building-specific generators.

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There were 44 DoD facilities working with microgrids as of 2012, accounting for more than half of the microgrid projects in the United States. Currently, there are many DoD projects that aim to find methodologies to develop viable microgrid systems. Among the most notable are the Smart Power System Demonstration for Energy Efficiency and Security, known as SPIDERS, and the Technological Certification Program for Environmental Protection, or ESTCP. SPIDERS is a joint project of the U.S. Pacific and Northern commands, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Homeland Security. It is a multi-phase project, In phase 1 microgrid demonstrations will be installed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and in phase 2 at Fort Carson. In phase 3 microgrid demonstrations will be installed at Camp Smith which makes it the first base able to operate completely independent of its local utility using a cyber-secure microgrid. Although SPIDERS support the implementation of microgrid, it is also used to finance experimental projects that could become part of a more comprehensive energy protection solution in the future. For instance, at Fort Carson, Colorado, SPIDERS has provided funding for bidirectional electric vehicles that can feed power back into the grid. These vehicles effectively act as the replacement of mobile batteries and can provide electrical power during a blackout. ESTCP provides $30 million in grant money for identical testbeds per year. This program supported a battery backup platform and electromechanical windows at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar which adjusted in polarization to reduce the solar heat gain of buildings.

Renewable energy solutions to reduce power military facilities: United Nations has taken initiatives to design strategies for renewable energy solutions that will reduce the energy consumption of military facilities. These strategies will try to reduce environmental effects and implementing other environmental targets in line with the intent and signals of the Seventh Millennium Development Goal (MDG7) to ensure environmental sustainability. Two instruments have been adopted: the first is the UN Field Mission Environmental Policy, introduced by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Ground Support Agency (DFS); the second is a Multinational Field Support Plan, approved by the General Assembly. The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) stated that one challenge to the implementation of energy-efficient and clean energy technology in the region is that the duration of the field project is frequently uncertain in advance, thereby making it impossible to carry out a future-oriented cost-benefit study of sustainable technologies. These regulations are mandatory and cover many aspects of peacekeeping operations’ environmental protection, including problems of camp management (such as water use, sanitation, solid and hazardous waste, biodiversity, and energy); These policies are implemented to provide minimum environmental requirements and organizational guidelines for all field missions. In certain cases, the systems to be deployed are picked based on the mission’s initial duration, usually six to twelve months, whereas a mission’s actual period is much longer, generally seven years. Experience from introducing renewable energy and energy conservation initiatives in the UN peacekeeping mission leads to a one to five-year cost-recovery payback cycle.

The tactical advantage of using solar energy to power military installments: For military organizations, solar power offers great potential. U.S. national security requires that the military should have the electricity even during a long-term blackout. Fortunately, there is a solution to the threat to the electric grid and its distributed power generation. The solution begins with the stationing of diesel-fuelled generators outside key buildings to provide emergency power. But the interruptions int the fuel supply chains can also occur in many scenarios, so renewable energy is better for a long-lasting solution. Solar photovoltaic systems, which produce electricity directly from sunlight, are best because they are easy to maintain, can be installed virtually anywhere, and need not be refueling. The DoD is now working towards that aim. Congress agreed that by 2025 military installations would have to receive 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. The department needs to be able to produce 3 gigawatts of renewable power per year to fulfill the requirement, even by 2025. Worldwide, defense organizations are also looking for solar power as part of the solution to the crisis, and wearable solar technology is one area in which substantial investment has been made. Incorporating solar photovoltaic cells into a soldier’s uniform or personal kit might provide these soldiers with an energy source to recharge batteries. Back in 2011, the United Kingdom MOD’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSL) initiated the Solar Soldier initiative to evaluate the feasibility of using portable solar photovoltaic cells and thermoelectric devices to provide a ’round-the-clock’ power source for soldiers in the field. Similar initiatives are also launched by the U.S. Department of defense too.

3.2 Solar powered soldiers

Worldwide, militaries have invested millions to build portable solar systems in the field for the troops. The system provides soldiers with a steady supply of energy to replace batteries, thus reducing the need for vast amounts of bulky replacement parts.

Benefits of wearable solar technology: A lot of people have long been dreaming of wearable solar technology. After all, having a free type of endlessly renewable energy sewn into your clothes for charging your computers on the go might be pretty good. The issue is that silicon-based solar cells appear to be very brittle which has made them as wearable materials impractical. The benefits of wearable solar technology are clear: the ability to charge small electronics via a clothing-integrated USB link will add an extra layer of convenience for consumers, and if widely implemented, a resulting reduction in power demand for charging devices could create a dent in the peak load problems that modern grid operators face. Experts say with solar-powered batteries you can lose a huge amount of weight a soldier wears simply because they do not need to carry a massive number of replacement batteries. “Modern foot soldiers are increasingly dependent on electric power, but batteries and other energy storage devices provide restricted space,” says Igor Skryabin, business growth manager at the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSES) at the Australian National University. “Eco-energy harvesting is a feasible alternative and no other source of energy has the ability to produce that of solar energy. SES company has partnered with the Defense Science and Technology Organization of Australia (DSTO) to develop SLIVER solar cell modules for military use. These are incredibly small and compact solar cells that have high power-to-weight ratios and can be compatible with complicated surfaces and helmets.

Efficiency and future of Solar-powered soldiers: Soldiers frequently patrol for weeks without being able to replace batteries for radios and other devices. That means they’re bringing a massive amount of gear, often weighing up to 70 kg. Naval Research’s (ONR) Expeditionary Manoeuvre Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department is developing a new generation of wearable solar equipment called the Marine Austere Patrolling Device (MAPS). MAPS contains a durable and versatile solar panel with an efficiency of around 30%. During a field test at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in California, marines from the 1st Battalion 5th Marines used MAPS. Researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) are also developing lightweight, efficient, on-the-move, portable Soldier-borne energy-harvesting technologies that eliminate the need to carry extra batteries. [18]

3.3 Renewable energy to avoid the heat signature of soldiers and military equipment

Before the 20th Century soldiers only had to camouflage themselves and their equipment against the human eye but now with the presence on the battlefield of electronic sensors, particularly passive infrared sensors, gives the ability to detect enemies at night, as well as those hidden by smokescreens or positioned behind other objects. Thermal imagers sensors that use the mid- and long-range IR spectrum to cut through the darkness, fog, and smoke have steadily but inexorably taken over the modern battlefield since their introduction in the 1970s. This technology can now be used on tactical drones and sniper rifles. So, to counter this military are now developing new technologies to hide the infrared signatures of soldiers and vehicles. The U.S. Army claims it is designing technologies that can remove heat signatures from ground forces and armored vehicles. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley said the future of warfare, in which soldiers will operate in a “highly lethal” environment, demands that the service develop the means to hide its soldiers. The U.S. military has tried and continues to try, special dyes and materials in uniforms to shield a soldier’s IR signature from these images. “But you are running up against the laws of physics,” camouflage expert retired Lt. Col. Tim O’Neill says. “The heat must escape somehow, or you will reduce the soldier to a hot, stinky puddle.”
Military camouflage technology to avoid detection from high-end thermal imaging has made great strides in the last decade and many new camouflage ideas have been developed, including BAE Systems’ Adaptive Vehicle Cloaking Technology, Hyper stealth Biotechnology’s light-bending Quantum Stealth material technology, and Dr. Susumu Tachi’s Japanese invisibility cloak, which uses nanoantennae technology to redirect light waves around an object. Russian state corporation Rostec is currently designing a new full-body exoskeleton for the Russian Army with advanced military camouflage technology. With the help of US camouflage manufacturer Fibrotex, the US Army is also developing new technologies to avoid thermal imaging. These are the Ultra-light Camouflage Netting System (ULCANS) and the Improved Ghillie System (IGS) [20]. This year U.S. Army and U.K army soldiers took part in a force-on-force experiment to test out battlefield techs ranging from thermal-defeating woobies to exoskeleton knee braces. Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning, Georgia hosted the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments (AEWE) 2020 from 4 February to 17 March. A platoon of U.K. soldiers joined two platoons from Benning’s Experimental Company to fight against an opposing force (OPFOR) made up of a platoon from the 4th Infantry Division to create a practical atmosphere for testing new technology technologies. The Maneuver Battle Lab then compiled a report designed to advise the Army on possible paths forward for some of the technology.

3.4 Renewable energy in military aviation to the extended duration of a mission

The Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) of the US Department of Energy ( DOE) recognizes that biofuels are particularly needed in the aviation industry, where liquid fuels are still the only viable source of fuel. Both the commercial aviation industry and the military are also seeking to increase the availability of domestic renewable jet fuel.

3.4. a – Renewable aviation fuel in military aircraft

Currently, there are three types of JP-8 for military use: Petroleum-derived jet fuel is the conventional fuel. It is obtained by refining crude petroleum. Approximately 9 percent of a barrel of crude oil is refined for commercial and military use. FT fuels are those which are made either from natural gas or coal. Green fuels are jet fuel derived from this source from something that is generated in a repeatable cycle, such as farming. The use and production of green fuels is more recent than either petroleum- or FT-derived fuels.

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According to Renewable Energy Perspectives for Aviation research paper, there are three paths for renewable energy perspectives in aviation.

Renewable Drop-in Fuels: Using drop-in fuels that have the same characteristics as conventional kerosene usually needs no fuel distribution networks, on-board fuel systems or combustion engines to be modified. For example. Biofuels, Drop-in Solar fuels. In March 2016, United Airlines became the first American airline to use renewable fuel for commercial operations when flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco began using biofuel.

Renewable Non-Drop-in Fuels: Unlike fossil or solar kerosene, non-drop-in fuels are not compatible with today’s transport fuel systems and thus can not be used without significant infrastructure modifications including the aircraft’s fuel production, distribution and storage, and motive power system. e.g. Solar Hydrogen

Electric Motive Power Systems: The all-electric aircraft.
BETO is working with government, national laboratories, and airline partners to develop prospects for sustainable aviation fuels to meet future aviation goals. BETO is advancing alternative jet biofuels through research and development in the feedstock and fuel conversion and scale-up areas. Under the Defense Protection Act, DOE is co-finances the development of three integrated biorefineries capable of processing hydrocarbon fuels that meet military requirements for JP-5 (jet fuel used by the U.S. Navy), JP-8 (jet fuel used by the U.S. Air Force), or F-76 (diesel). BETO’s contributed $90 million to this initiative over the past 2 years. The overall contribution from this interagency partnership is between the three biorefineries of $210 million: Emerald Biofuels, Fulcrum Bioenergy, and Red Rock Biofuels. In addition, BETO has helped finance a partnership between Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Lanza Tech to develop a technology that transforms ethanol from gas fermentation into jet fuel through proven thermochemical conversion pathways. They declared an important achievement in September 2016 that they had produced 1,500 gallons of renewable jet fuel from industrial waste gases. LanzaTech has also developed technology capable of converting carbon dioxide into ethanol that can be used for chemical and fuel applications. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has described the renewable aviation fuel production, known as bio-jet fuel, as the most promising strategy for growing the aviation sector’s environmental effects. Also known as synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK) are the renewable hydrocarbons which constitute bio-jet fuel, and their properties are almost identical to those of jet fuel. SPK also has the advantage that it contains relatively little Sulphur and creates lower CO2 emissions than jet fuel.

3.4. b – Solar powered military aircraft:

Electric aircraft are among the more ambitious developments that are being studied worldwide to minimize aviation carbon emissions. As fuel costs spiral, powering airplanes with sunlight can seem an appealing choice. So far, the electric planes that have made successful flights have only able to accommodate only one or two passengers and it will probably be at least a decade or two before the technology advances to the point that it is commercially viable. According to David Zingg, the director of the University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies “The big challenge is the batteries,” For electric planes to become competitive, their power sources need to be able to store more energy per unit mass — otherwise, their speed and weight capacities will remain impractically low. “You can imagine in 20 years you can have an aircraft the size of a 737 that’s electric — but you can’t be sure,” Zingg said. “That all depends on battery technology.”

Here are details about a few of Solar-powered military aircraft:
Solar Impulse 1: The first Solar Impulse plane was a single-seated monoplane powered by photovoltaic cells designed primarily as a demonstration aircraft and could take off under its own power. The plane performed its first test flight in December 2009. It flew a whole diurnal solar cycle in a 26-hour flight in July 2010, including nearly nine hours of night-flying..
Solar Impulse 2: It is a solar-powered aircraft fitted with more than 17,000 solar cells, weighing only 2.4 tonnes and 235 feet wingspan. The plane started to circumnavigate the globe, departing in the United Arab Emirates from Abu Dhabi. After a multi-stage voyage around the globe, the aircraft was scheduled to return to Abu Dhabi in August 2015. On 26 July 2016, more than 16 months after his departure, the aircraft completed the Earth’s first circumnavigation of approximately 42,000 kilometers using solar power only.
Zephyr – UAV – Airbus: Zephyr is a High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) UAS/UAV which runs on solar power. After taking off in Arizona, the USA on July 11, Zephyr S logged a 25-day maiden flight, the longest duration flight ever achieved. A few years earlier, a Zephyr research aircraft also recorded the previous longest flight duration record, achieving then a continuous flight of more than 14 days, which was already ten times longer than any other aircraft in the world.
PHASA-35: Built by BAE Systems in partnership with Prismatic, it is a modern high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). In Feb 2020, PHASA-35 completed its maiden flight. According to the experts the persistent high-altitude solar aircraft has the potential to stay airborne for a year.


Vulnerabilities of energy infrastructure have been exposed more than once in case of natural disasters and other physical attacks. So, in case of war protecting these local energy production resources would be a very hard task for any military. For decades militaries have produced many innovative tactics to target these energy production facilities for example Dam busters Bouncing Bomb were designed to destroy dams in case of war. In modern warfare, energy infrastructure is more vulnerable than ever. Cyberwarfare has made things more complex. We have seen how Cyber weapons like Stuxnet were used to destroyed centrifuges inside Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site. Apart from cyber-attacks, Standoff missile attacks, Airstrikes, and other attacks have had raised the level of threat and seriously questions the state of security of old energy infrastructures.

4.1 Reliability of local energy production during war

Critical Energy Infrastructure is the energy infrastructure that is so essential that if they are damaged or destroyed, they will have far-reaching negative effects on the security and defensive capacities of
State. According to the US Department of Homeland Security CEI can be divided into the following three categories:
A. Energy extraction facilities: oil and natural gas extraction units etc
B. Energy transportation infrastructure: pipelines, road, and railway network, etc
C. Energy conversion infrastructure: Oil and gas refineries, power plants, etc
Modern warfare’s rising complexity and technological advancement have brought increased attention to target enemy supply lines, strategic-level logistics, and war-supporting infrastructure.

Gulf war and operation desert storm can provide a high insight to a level to treat Critical Energy Infrastructure in today’s times. Post-Cold war era the most significant conflict the world has faced was the Gulf war. With the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein tried to capture Kuwait’s Critical Energy Infrastructure which was almost 10% of the world’s oil reserves. In response to that Operation Desert Storm was launched that started with an extensive aerial bombing that targeted Iraqi military and civilian infrastructure. The Coalition forces struck 11 of Iraq’s 20 major power stations, 119 substations, and all major hydroelectric dams, destroying them and reducing electricity production to 4 %. Other facilities, such as nuclear reactors, port facilities, oil refineries and distribution, railroads, and bridges, were also attacked and destroyed. With no electricity, all Iraqi military surveillance and navigational assets were neutralized. With no RADAR Iraqi army and air force unit was sitting duck for collation Airforce fighter and bombers jets and the world fourth-largest army was destroyed in five weeks. So, the old energy infrastructure has been and will continue to be a fundamental vulnerability in case of war hence nowadays substantial efforts must be made to protect them.

4.2 Reduced vulnerability for airstrikes and missile strike using a renewable solution

From the operation desert storm example discussed above, we have learned that how Airstrikes at Iraqi Critical Energy Infrastructure helped Coalition forces to achieve a decisive victory in just a matter of weeks. The main reason why these Airstrikes were so successful was most of the Iraqi CEI ware old traditional energy Infrastructure centralized at one location. So, with modern surveillance planes and satellite imaginary its very easy to get the pinpoint location of these energy resources and then target them with standoff weapons. In modern warfare no matter what you can do its almost impossible to defend traditional energy resources. The solution to these threats is rather getting energy e.g. electricity from one local electric grid militaries should go for distributed energy resources technologies to power each and every facility separately. Apart from them in case of emergency militaries should also invest in mobile solar electric energy sources that can quickly be deployed to power critical CEI. If the enemy target communication and energy resources, solar wearable technologies can also help ground troops to make sure their equipment has sufficient battery supply that can last for a sufficient amount of time and does not affect troops’ coordination during the mission.


This paper explores a very long history of energy/defense interactions and how these interactions occur in military policy, strategy, and tactics. The defense progress has long led to civilian technical advances in many technological areas where we are now at the cusp of a potential similar technological transition in the renewable energy technology domain. The paper also sheds light on how important advances in the environmental field are now expressed in military and defense technologies. In this paper, we have discussed that how the switch from current fossil fuel energy resources to renewable energy resources offers the opportunity to enhance both the military mission’s effectiveness and to reduces the environmental impact of fossil fuel overconsumption. We have also discussed how militaries can become more energy independent and save millions by investing in renewable energy. In the case of logistics, we concluded that how a switch from traditional petroleum energy resources supply chain can not only decrease the cost of military operations but can also make them logistics more secure against physical attacks and geostrategic risk. In the case of military installments energy requirements, we concluded that military bases become more resilient, and secure in case of a natural disaster or manmade event if we maneuver toward energy sources that do not rely on oil and other petroleum energy resources. Renewable energy-based power generation and technologies like microgrids and smart grids can enable militaries to have a continuous supply of electricity even during a long-term blackout. We have also discussed how wearable solar technology and initiative like solar-powered soldiers will not only reduce the energy demand of the military but also helps in a steady supply of energy to replace batteries, thus reducing the need for soldiers to carry vast amounts of bulky replacement parts. In the case of aviation, it is evident that renewable energy is the future. Renewable aviation fuels and solar-powered aircraft have the potential to change both the military aviation and commercial aviation industry. Now let us get back to the most important question that is how long militaries will take to implement these renewable energy solutions. Well, most of the renewable energy technologies discussed above are in the research and development phase and according to U.S Energy Flight Plan 2017 – 2036 and U.S. EIA Annual Energy Review the militaries will take at least 5 to 10 years the implementation of this renewable energy initiative.

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