Sustainable new generation energy systems
Research in this field has to focus on alternative energy sources that enhance autonomy and do not (or hardly) affect environment and natural resources (e.g. greenhouse gas emission reduction; improving energy system sustainability, …).
An example of it has been, for many years, the contribution of high performance research to the use of plasmas in the context of a European effort in the field of nuclear fusion. This domain of investigation will continue to be given a priority.
Regarding the operational aspect, “efficient self-sufficiency” means an operational autonomy with bigger dimensions and lasting longer, while reducing its logistical and environmental footprint. The distinction is made between the energy consumption of the very devices or systems, their use in the field, and temporary infrastructures such as DOB, compounds, etc. What is considered here is new ideas, but also successful conversion of innovative ideas having proved their added value in civil matters in an operational context.
As far as the use of wind turbines in a military context is concerned, research aims at the optimisation of the siting, the productivity of small and medium wind farms, as well as the reduction of the environmental nuisance related to them.
Synthetic fuels gradually enter Defence but the impact of their use on the military material or on the single fuel concept still must be assessed. Research in this domain will thus include compatibility with the material and the behaviour of additives in these synthetic fuels.
For hydrogen as potential and future fuel in the military field, potential research will address technical aspects as well as storage and distribution energy efficiency. Fuel cells could be a possible application domain.
Collecting low-level energy, i.e. capturing small quantities of energy available in the environment and converting it into electricity, could find many military applications.
This focus areas also includes the study of energy collection and conversion systems.
The third section consists in Defence as a civil user: the hectares of land, the number of buildings and routes on the military domain justify a thorough effort in terms of energy transition and smart energy consumption.
The first two aspects will be given research priority, because of their more strategic and/or military nature, as well as the fact that there are already much (civilian) research in the third domain. This does not prevent Defence from participating in – without leading – international (NATO, EDA, EU, etc.) projects or being an early adopter of new innovative solutions in the marketplace.