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ONR, Marine Corps show alternative energy use at forward operating bases can save dollars, lives

of all the discussion in the media and society regarding 'green' energy," he added.

By deploying SPACES, a lightweight solar panel system, which can also recharge batteries, the 3/5 was able to conduct extended patrols away from their FOB without the need for battery resupply. The 3/5 also powered two patrol bases with renewable energy.

At larger sites, fuel used to power generators was reduced to two to three gallons a day, from 25 gallons, using GREENS, a 300-watt, photovoltaic/battery system, which provides continuous power to Marines in the field. That resulted in a 90 percent reduction in fuel use, Marine Corps officials said at the ExFOB IPT briefing.

The ExFOB is now embraced by the Marines, and the MCWL, Marine Corps System Command (MARCORPSYSCOM), E2O, the Capabilities Development Directorate and ONR. They have all played a vital role to ensure the concept moves forward.

The idea for ExFOB was first raised in 2009 by ONR's George Solhan, the deputy chief of naval research, Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism. ONR issued a "request for information" (RFI) to help the Marine Corps rapidly assess industry's capabilities to provide off-the-shelf solutions.

About 100 vendors responded to the RFI with a variety of ideas for water purification, power generation technologies and energy-efficient shelters. ONR, MCWL, and MARCORSYSCOM subsequently selected vendors representing the diversity of potential technical solutions. ONR then extended invitations for those vendors to participate in an ExFOB demonstration at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, in March 2010.

"We were looking for technologies that could have immediate impact on getting Marines off the roads hauling fuel and water," Charette added. In addition to inviting industry participants, ONR has invested $1.6 million, in both dollars and technologies, toward ExFOB. The total ExFOB cost to date is $3.9 million, Solhan said.


Contact: Peter Vietti
Office of Naval Research

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