Assessment of conventional and alternative energy carriers for use in military vehicle platforms

Document Type


Publication Date



Engineering Technology

Publication Title

Journal of Energy Resources Technology, Transactions of the ASME


Interest in alternative energy carriers for military transportation applications prompted significant investigation, which revealed military-specific benefits and challenges of electric hybrid energy carrier systems. In the years since these studies, the types and performance of alternative energy carrier technologies have rapidly advanced. The objectives of this work were to survey and characterize commercial and near-term transportation energy carriers and then assess their use in several specific military vehicles. Comprehensive databases were constructed which quantify the energy density, specific energy, and power density of various energy carriers, storage systems, and energy conversion devices, through a survey of the scientific and industrial literature. These databases were then used in conjunction with basic operating requirements for the high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle and family of medium tactical vehicles military vehicle platforms to approximate the total powertrain mass as well as the total volume of stored energy, for various energy carriers for each vehicle platform. Results indicate that the use of pure gasoline or diesel fuels in these vehicle platforms yields by far the lowest total powertrain mass and stored energy; thus, despite recent advancements in alternative energy carrier technologies, significant powertrain mass and stored volume penalties for their implementation remain. Li ion battery diesel hybrids were the most promising near-term application of alternative energy carrier, with the commercialization of Li ion battery technologies found to have significantly reduced mass and volume penalties. The databases and trends developed here inform the broader consideration of alternative energy carriers used in military vehicles.

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