Department of Energy, Department of Army Announce New Alliance, Convene Energy Leaders for Vehicle Power Workshop

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• New charter spurs collaborative relationship between departments • 80+ energy leaders attending first-ever Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Workshop in Detroit • Organizers: “Win-win-win scenario” for Nation, Soldiers, automotive industry

By increasing our cooperation on advanced vehicle technologies, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Army can accelerate the development and deployment of cutting-edge technologies that will decrease our dependence on oil, said Chu.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of the Army today announced a new collaboration aimed at promoting the joint development of advanced vehicle technologies. During the first-ever Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Workshop – hosted by the DOE and the Army at NextEnergy headquarters in Detroit – Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal announced the completion of a new charter that will enhance national energy security and demonstrate the Federal Government’s leadership in transitioning America to a low-carbon economy. The announcement came during the workshop, which brought together more than 80 energy leaders from government, industry and academia to jointly address ground mobility challenges.

“By increasing our cooperation on advanced vehicle technologies, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Army can accelerate the development and deployment of cutting-edge technologies that will decrease our dependence on oil,” said Chu. “Through this Alliance, we can strengthen our military, our national security and our economy. Our work together can help create a clean energy economy that will create jobs and make America more competitive.”

Under Secretary of the Army Westphal expounded on the workshop’s purpose. “President Obama has made it clear that now is the time to secure our energy future. We must increase efficiency in Army vehicles to accomplish this vital national goal,” Westphal said. “This powerful collaboration between the Army and the Department of Energy will ultimately support our Soldiers and forces, both abroad and here at home, by providing vehicles that are lighter, more efficient, less dependent on carbon fuels, and yet survivable and sustainable. They will provide the platforms for the next generation of fighting systems that are good for the environment and still meet the Army's military mission.”

The Workshop opened with remarks and perspectives from senior leaders. Breakout sessions began mid-morning Monday and continue through Tuesday, focusing on six critical areas:

  •     Advanced combustion engines and transmissions
  •     Lightweight structures and materials
  •     Energy recovery and thermal management
  •     Alternative fuels and lubricants
  •     Hybrid propulsion systems including batteries
  •     Analytical tools

More detailed workshop findings are being compiled, and an announcement of initial projects for joint consideration is expected later this summer.

This workshop is hosted by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE-EERE). TARDEC reports up to the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), which falls under the Army Materiel Command (AMC). TARDEC is also an enterprise partner in the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.

The following are selected quotes from the opening session of the 2011 Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Workshop.

  •     Sen. Carl Levin – “Bringing creative minds together without barriers is really what has driven us as a people, and it has given us a unique ability to be entrepreneurial, innovative and to have our best minds be free to work collaboratively with other free minds to produce results that have made a difference in terms of the world and in terms of the economy of this country.”

“This is truly an historic moment where we have two of our really great agencies that have decided they want to work much more collaboratively on projects to save lives, affecting our Nation and supporting our economy.”

  •     Sharon E. Burke – Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs – “Mobility is the core of our military capability. On the ground, in the air and at sea you have to be able to move. That’s the military mission and that’s where we’re expending a great deal of energy and where our challenge is going to be going forward, because we will continue to be a military that has to have mobility and has mobility at its heart…We need to all work together to crack one of the most difficult problems about how to use less energy and still have the same mobility.”
  •     Katherine Hammack – Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment – “We ask much of [Soldiers], and what we ask of you here today is to provide them with vehicles and solutions that enable the mission and protect the Soldier.”
  •     Dr. Alan Taub, Vice President, Global Research and Design, GM – “There is no question that we have learned how to break what Sen. Levin referred to as the ‘industry/government wall.’. . . I think the challenge in our workshops today and tomorrow is how we find the common ground between the military and commercial needs and create the right kind of working relationship, not just with the automotive companies, but with the military vehicle suppliers and these two government agencies and actually put projects in place.”
  •     Major General James L. Hodge, Commanding General, Combined Arms Support Command – “Vehicle technology improvements, such as more efficient engines, hybrid drives, lighter weight structures and armor, compact power and electronics, all represent opportunities for the Army, industry and Department of Defense to work together to make the most effective design decisions for the Army of the future.”

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