HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog
Army's 'Super Engine' Would Streamline Fuel Use
2/5/2013

Two international contractors inspect a sample of JP-8 fuel in Kuwait in 2010. The Army hopes to use the fuel as the basis for a 'super engine' that can power a number of ground and air vehicles, as well as generators using this fuel.   (Source: US Army Sgt. David Reardon, 1st Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, US Army)
Two international contractors inspect a sample of JP-8 fuel in Kuwait in 2010. The Army hopes to use the fuel as the basis for a "super engine" that can power a number of ground and air vehicles, as well as generators using this fuel.
(Source: US Army Sgt. David Reardon, 1st Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, US Army)

Return to Article

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
<<  <  Page 3/3
naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: More government research
naperlou   2/6/2013 9:16:36 AM
NO RATINGS
56ml, I was not trying to denigrate government research, or DARPA, in general.  On the other hand, we hear more about this than we do about privately funded or univeristy research, for obvious reasons.  Thus, we have more to "comment" on.  I have worked on DARPA funded projects, Atomic Energy Commission funded projects (long ago) and corporate R&D funded projects.  The DARPA projects were mainly about things that had not been done yet, and were perhaps premature.  That's appropriate for such an agency.

I direct you to eafpres' comment.  Is this really a research project? 

bob from maine also has a very good point.  Our military services are really wonderful organizations in many ways, but there are still some major bureuacratic issues that need to be dealt with before some major effeciencies can be realized.  Just as an example, the Army, under criticism for its choice of cammo for uniforms, talked about adopting the Marine uniform patterns.  The Marines shot back, no you can't, that's ours.  Of course it is not theirs.  Those patterns are property of the US Government (meaning us).  I saw a lot of this, along with some major sharing, when I worked in the aerospace business. 

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: One fuel, many applications
Elizabeth M   2/6/2013 6:48:58 AM
NO RATINGS
Interesting, Bob, I didn't know that bit of history about the Army. It actually seems like something like that is a more fuel efficient and practical option that creating some kind of super fuel that is specialized. And streamlining across all military branches seems like a no brainer, even though as you point out it's just the opposite!

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Logistical Tail
Elizabeth M   2/6/2013 6:11:09 AM
NO RATINGS
Good points, TJ. Personally I think local is the way to go, and am more interested in the military's use of alternative sources of fuel and setting up local solar and wind arrays than in this type of investment. There are definitely some other military efforts in terms of energy sourcing and consumption that are more appealing both financially and ecologically.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: More government research
Elizabeth M   2/6/2013 6:00:39 AM
NO RATINGS
I hear what you're saying, naperlou, and it's completely true. If you want innovation, you really have to look at private business. I wrote about the government for another publication for about two years and in that time I felt like I was writing the same story over and over...the government was pondering this or that legislation and really meant to address it imminently, but it never happened. I do think, though, that DARPA is an exception, but they work with the private sector (ie, Boston Dynamics) to do a lot of their robotics innovations.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Logistical Tail
TJ McDermott   2/5/2013 10:57:27 PM
NO RATINGS
Should this come to fruition, the army has added a huge burden to its logistical tail.  Instead of being able to source fuel locally, the army will have to bring it with them from much further away.  The army claims switching would reduce its logistical burden, but that statement sounds like smoke and mirrors.

JP8 seems only to be used by the US military and some allies.  However, this article:

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123148345

says the Air Force is exploring the switch to commercial Jet-A because it is more readily available and thus less expensive.

The army's plan sounds like a waste of my tax money.  

 

 

 

56ml
User Rank
Iron
Re: More government research
56ml   2/5/2013 5:03:42 PM
NO RATINGS
My Ph.D. professor and many of his student are largely responsible for the multiple advances that made commercially viable LED possible today. We did research at the university and published papers, everyone of which was supported in part by the predecessor of DARPA. To denigrate government sponsored R&D is overreaching in my opinion.

In my nearly 40 year career outside of the light-emitting field, I have worked in two prestigeous Fortune 50 research labs. Most projects don't pan out. To the outsider, it would be called waste and abuse if those government work. For corporations, everything is just fine to the same people. Research is hard. If it were easy, it would already have been done. Few people are as intelligent or knowledgable as those who read these blogs and comment. If the whole population were as smart as we are, we would just be average Joes. In this economy, we would just be scraping by, not enjoying our comfortable life.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: More government research
Charles Murray   2/5/2013 4:58:46 PM
NO RATINGS
DARPA does some good work, naperlou, but I generally agree with you. Too often, government is behind the curve. This is often true in electronics, where the best graphics processors are avilable for games, not defense.

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
One fuel, many applications
bob from maine   2/5/2013 2:20:30 PM
At the end of WWII the Army had a multi-fuel-engine that they put into most of their heavy duty trucks. They ran best on diesel but as the instruction manual said "If it'll burn, it'll run in this engine". The engines weren't very fuel efficient but no matter where in the world you ended-up, you could always find fuel. Navy ships that used boilers burned bunker-C, what's left over after just about everything else had been refined out of a barrel of oil. They also burned crude oil. Naval aircraft have been using a different Jet Fuel than the Air-Force for years. As engines get more efficient and specialized, the fuel required becomes more specialized. Research on fuels by the military is nothing new, but it's a sure bet that if the Army is able to derive a single-fuel approach, the Air-Force, Navy and Marines will find another method.

eafpres
User Rank
Gold
Do you need R&D to solve this or just E?
eafpres   2/5/2013 10:01:36 AM
NO RATINGS
Wow, let's just reinvent combustion research!  Seriously, don't you think that, say, taking each of the engine/vehicle platforms the military desires to use JP8 in, giving them to good engineering teams, and telling them "figure this out" would lead to answers quicker than studying vaporization in combustion chambers?  I'm a scientist at heart, then a technologist, so I'm biased towards R&D.  But this is over the top.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
More government research
naperlou   2/5/2013 9:41:36 AM
Elizabeth, one fact that you mention in your article is interesting and all too familiar to me.  The fact that the single fuel policy (which is a good idea) was originally put forward in the 1980s.  Consider what your article says.  They are just now getting around to doing some of the basic research.  This is just sad.  I did a lot of government and corporate funded research over the years, and it often seems that the government is generally behind the curve.  Remember, all of the systems they used are made by industrial concerns, not by the government.  I remember when that decision was made in earnest.  I remember because my father worked at an Army research lab.  He was lamenting that they were contracting everything out. 

This situation is also interesting in relation to autonomous vehicle research.  The government, again for the military, has been looking at this since at least the 1980s.  Who is really doing it now, Google.  The whole situation is that the government sometimes starts to work on things when they are really are not feasible.  I saw a lot of that.  That is why a lot of the talk about DARPA in Design News amuses me, sometimes.  It might be much more interesting to see what is being done in Japan in robotics.  They are doing some really innovative stuff and it is not in the military realm.

<<  <  Page 3/3
Partner Zone
More Blogs
Festo is developing small wind turbines for generating power to buildings. The model for the mini wind devices is the seagull wing.
An Israeli design student has created a series of unique pieces of jewelry that can harvest energy from default movements of the body and even use human blood as a way to conduct energy.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Help us recognize engineers who are ahead of the trends and making big moves in the design engineering community.
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 8 - 12, Get Ready for the New Internet: IPv6
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service