DARPA in America looks to use solar power on the battlefield. In a small capacity, Israel is now too.
While in no way does Green Prophet support fighting and aggression (also the cost of conflict on the environment is very high), it’s good to hear that not only the US army is looking to green its reserves. In a further campaign to save resources and cut costs, Israel’s military forces, the IDF, are adopting more measures to conserve water and electricity usage on military bases and in the field.
According to the military news site Defense Professionals IDF ground forces managed to reduce their water consumption by 21% in the first half of 2009 as compared to the same period in 2008.
Electricity consumption was also slightly reduced during the same period (by 3%) with more conservation awareness being transmitted to soldiers to have them be more involved in conserving already scarce water resources. The significant water savings should be even more with the installation of special water savings devices on all water faucets on IDF bases, which will be done at the beginning of 2010.
“I believe that this meaningful conservation we are witnessing comes as a result of the widespread educational activities which the IDF carried out in order to raise awareness of this issue,” noted Major Ludwig Varga, head of the Department of Energy Conservation of the Center for Construction in the IDF. (We’ve tried to interview the IDF about their practices and have never been able to cut through the spokesperson’s office).
The army’s new energy conservation measures have influenced the electricity savings – even though some may say that it is still not a significant amount. For the coming year, his department is setting a goal of 10% electricity savings, which would be significant in comparison with previous years. “It is clear that IDF soldiers understand the importance of maintaining the quality of the environment and conserving electricity and water,” Varga added.
The IDF will also be installing special solar water heating units to reduce the need for electricity for heating water in showers and laundries on army bases. Strange that they don’t have them already since Israel is such a heavy user of solar water heaters.
The use of solar energy by the IDF is also being innovated for use in the battlefield, as reported in a recent article in thJerusalem Post. Specially made compact solar panels (thin film?)will be used to recharge batteries used in field equipment for the logistical corps. The panels will be able to create around 30 watts of electricity and be able top charge several batteries simultaneously.
“These devices will give us logistical and operational flexibility,” explained Maj. Eran Simon, the manager of the solar panel project in the Logistics Corps. Weighing only one and a half kilogram, the devices, together with their folding solar panels, can recharge the batteries in only a couple of hours and are much lighter to carry than portable generators. They are virtually soundless – a big plus when soldiers are on operations in enemy territory. Larger solar charging devices for batteries in vehicles will later be employed.
Previously on Green Prophet we talked about the efforts being made by the IDF reduce its carbon and ecological “footprint” on Israel’s environment, although winning in battle they say is still the top priority. With the use of portable solar battery chargers, IDF field units will be more efficient and less dependent on using generators or extra batteries. And for troops who bring along their cell phones (where permitted, of course), being able to recharge their cell phones will enable them to be in touch with loved ones at home. While not specifically noted in the IDF’s official spokesperson blog, this can be a big plus to maintaining high morale.
Photos: Dover @ the IDF, Jerusalem Post
Image via clean technica