U.S. Army, Pacific, recently unveiled a new fleet of 16 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that the military services in Hawaii are testing in an effort to research more efficient clean and renewable energy sources and reduce the U.S. military’s dependence on petroleum.

“The Army continues to investigate technologies and partnerships that give the United States a decisive advantage,” said Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, commanding general of U.S. Army, Pacific. “These fuel cell vehicles will help move the U.S. Army in the Pacific toward a sustainable path that reduces energy security challenges and strengthens our energy independence.”

During a February ceremony at Palm Circle at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, officials from various services government leaders, including U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, and industry partners demonstrated the use of the 16 General Motors hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The vehicles are funded by the Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC), Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratories and are being tested in Hawaii’s ideal climate for real-world conditions reflecting the needs of each service.


James Muldoon, science officer with the U.S. Army, Pacific, explains hydrogen fuel cell technology to Sen. Daniel Inouye Feb. 22 during a commissioning ceremony at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Credit: U.S. Army, Pacific

George Ka’iliwai, director of Resources and Assessment for U.S. Pacific Command said, “Our pursuit of alternative energy is closely tied to our commitment to continually adapt to an ever-changing security environment. Defense relationships and military approaches alone can’t solve all of our energy challenges, but they underpin the initiatives we’re taking within the Department of Defense to reduce the dependence on foreign sources of energy.”

The new fleet of fuel cell vehicles serves as the test platform powered by renewable hydrogen, travels up to 200 miles on a single charge, refuels in five minutes and produces zero emissions.
“The test data collected will be analyzed to make fuel cell technology practical in future operational platforms,” said James Muldoon, science officer with the U.S. Army, Pacific.

The U.S. Army actively seeks and supports industry partnerships to increase compatible renewable energy development. Fielding of military fuel cell vehicles with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines is the latest effort of the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative, a partnership among 13 agencies, companies and universities.

“Once the key hydrogen infrastructure elements are proven in Hawaii, other states can adopt a similar approach,” said Charles Freese, executive director of global fuel cell activities for General Motors, a founding partner of the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative. “The military is paving the way, demonstrating the practicality and applicability of this technology.”

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