The U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command at Fort Belvoir in Virginia has contracted with a company called Unitel to deliver a pilot plant that reforms hydrogen from JP-8 fuel. The hydrogen will be used for solid oxide fuel cell stacks to power mobile auxiliary power units on military vehicles on the battlefield providing “quiet power.”
For those who want to know the technical nuts and bolts of how Unitel achieves the reforming of hydrocarbon fuels to hydrogen there is a PowerPoint presentation on their website with all the details that can be downloaded.
The military commonly uses JP-8 (jet fuel) to power aircraft, tanks, trucks and other vehicles. JP-8 fuel is 99.8 percent kerosene and is very similar to Jet A/A-1 fuel, which powers commercial aircraft around the world. It has been estimated that 60 billion gallons of JP-8 fuel are used around the world every year with the military using 4.5 billion gallons. JP-8 fuel has also been implicated in numerous health issues for military personnel.
The U. S. Army, in addition, has contracted with Quantum Fuel Systems for an off-road stealth vehicle named the Quantum Aggressor. This vehicle features a reduced thermal signature and a silent running operational mode.
It’s good to see the military moving forward with hydrogen vehicle research, especially since the implementation of hydrogen vehicles provides both stealth benefits and health benefits.