The US Air Force is currently rethinking its fuel consumption. The Air Force has monitoring stations in remote parts of Alaska where they are monitoring wind turbines. For these monitoring stations they perform air fuel drops during September and March.
March can be particularly hazardous for pilots due to extreme weather conditions. To decrease the amount of times they have to make a fuel drop, and to avoid March, the US Air Force is using these wind turbines to generate enough power that they can delay fuel drops until June.
These remote stations are part of a training exercise called Red Flag Alaska Operations. For the wind power demo, they chose a location near the Yukon River with very harsh conditions and used wind turbines that were able to withstand these conditions. The results will not only show the turbine’s ability to generate a substantial amount of power, but it will also provide real-time data of the turbines and surrounding environmental conditions. In addition to the environmental benefits, these turbines are expected to have a return on investment in just one year.
The US Air Force Research Laboratory’s Advanced Power Technology Office (APTO) is dedicated to innovating and remaining environmentally conscious. Their goal is to provide increasing benefits to the warfighter and the customer, support the US Air Force’s position on energy requirements, and to reduce reliance on foreign fuel.
In addition to wind turbines, the APTO also has many other projects up its sleeve. They are involved in many fuel cell projects, waste-to-energy projects, electric vehicles, and a grid for solar and hydrogen power. The sky is the limit with these new technologies, and we have only begun to skim the surface.