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U.S. Troops Powered by Solar Cells in Innovative GREENS Project


For the U.S. soldiers operating in the arid areas of the Arabian Desert, the sun represents only a continuous source of heat. But recently the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Advanced Power Generation Future Naval Capabilities program introduced a new technology allowing the Marines to harness the Sun’s energy to power their field equipments. This is how the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System (GREENS) was invented.The 300-watt photovoltaic/battery system provides continuous power to Marines in the field. The widely dispersed units need constant power for their computing devices, targeting systems and communications. GREENS will even cut fuel use, cost and risk of ambush on the supplying convoys.

“Within the Marine Corps, we are fighting in areas that are remote, and require very difficult logistical convoys to get to. And there is a lot of fuel and other types of batteries and power systems that have a heavy logistical burden” said Justin Govar, a chemical engineer for the Expeditionary Power Systems Office at Marine Corps Systems Command.

The project was realized very fast in just a little bit more than 1 year but this from the concept phase. Now GREENS is providing reliable AC and DC power to remote outposts. Finally soldiers do not have to rely on fuel supplies and generators to ensure radio communication anymore. Tests have been carried out at the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, Calif., where ambient temperatures exceeded 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Even under the extreme temperatures, the system was able to provide 85 percent of the rated energy.

GREENS is just one of the many system that were under military development for the alternative energy use. Maybe some of the them will be later used in civilian applications.

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