MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Representatives with the Office of Naval Research-Global TechSolutions and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Labs provided a brief to U.S. Marines with II Marine Expeditionary Force, showcasing the capabilities of the Hydrogen- Tactical Refueling Point on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 16, 2020.
The engine creates fuel on-demand for hydrogen fuel cell equipped systems, avoiding the logistical and environmental hurdles of using fossil fuels, such as transportation, storage and overconsumption, according to the demonstrators. The institutions have worked together to create a prototype since April 2020.
The system is made with lightweight material which is easier to transport, and only requires water-based liquids and aluminum to produce fuel. The Office of Naval Research has proposed the idea of the Marine Corps switching to aluminum ammunition cans to shred after they have been used to make the fuel. The device will be easier to move in an expeditionary environment than the fuel tanks the Marine Corps currently uses according to the demonstrators.
According to Jason Payne, a representative of the Office of Naval Research, the system will enable Marines to transport and set up a fuel production site with ease. Payne added that once the fuel-generating system has gone through the revision phase, it will be safer, more reliable and more user-friendly.
“It is a clean energy solution that actually increases performance,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Stephen Simmons, a Reserve Logistics Integration Officer with II MEF. “We should be paying attention to this.”
According to Simmons, the mechanism meets the clean energy demands of the future while not trading performance. He explained purified water is the only byproduct from burning hydrogen fuel, which can be reused or recycled into another hydrogen production process.
“When incorporated into various equipment,” said Simmons. “It has been shown to increase performance of test vehicles, and production of hydrogen can be accomplished with a much smaller footprint than other expeditionary energy options at this time at a reduced thermal signature.”