|Not Actual TARDEC Scientists|
Big week in DOD energy last week with announcements from the White House and Warren, MI. The pronouncements from the Potomac to the shores of Lake St Clair charted DOD’s course for infrastructure, transportation and operational energy. First, to the outskirts of the Motor City.
The Army’s Tank and Automotive Research and Development Command, TARDEC opened an 8 in 1, Swiss Army knife of a lab. The new 34K sqft facility has been years in development and was unveiled with smoke, flashing lights and music, but no visible dogs or ponies. The lab encompasses test facilities for research and testing to be conducted on electrical systems, heating and cooling components, fuel cells, hybrid electric powertrains and advanced batteries. Although focused on mobility systems, the new Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory (acronym: GSPEL) could provide testing facilities for smart power distribution systems and larger scale energy storage. It will be able to provide for testing under extremes in temperature and other climatic conditions. Any device certified as truly working could receive a big stamp: GSPEL TRUTH. Or maybe not.
Senator Levin, (D-MI) has been a god father for the project to the tune of about $30-40 million in federal funding – including $15 million from the 2009 stimulus legislation. GSPEL increases the available lab space at TARDEC for the development of new engines, fuel cells and energy storage devices that the Army has been pursuing. All of these technologies have direct and critical military applications AND positive benefit for the civilian world. Maybe Clint was right; it is time for the second half and Michigan, not just Detroit, is back!
More to follow on other news, to include promises in gigawatts, ARPA Energizer Bunnies and why the President is riding the good horse, DOD in the energy race. If you are anywhere near the Denver convention center, 17 Apr 12 around 0800 MST, drop in an say hello. It will be me and a thousand of my newest buddies chatting about Biomass. Dan Nolan