Arctic energy research could expand military reach

The Watch Staff

The U.S. Army and Dartmouth College are teaming up to find ways to better deliver energy to military bases in extremely cold weather.

The partners announced in September 2019 that Dartmouth’s Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society and the Thayer School of Engineering will collaborate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) to look for ways to improve energy delivery, storage and mobility for Arctic military bases.

Energy delivery is central to cold-weather military operations, and the Arctic is drawing international attention for its natural resources and strategic position, according to the CRREL project description.

“CRREL is ramping up in the energy engineering space, and Dartmouth is ramping up in the energy space. So, this is a natural relationship that we really hope to foster and grow over the next couple of decades,” said Elizabeth Wilson, the project’s principal investigator and director of the Irving Institute, according to Dartmouth’s website.

The project aims to extend the Army’s mission capabilities by up to 30%.

The partners will undertake three projects. One is to develop a multimodal energy management system that optimizes the supply, demand and storage of energy for an Arctic military base’s operation.

A second effort will involve developing high-energy lithium batteries to address the challenges of electrochemical reactions in batteries caused by cold weather. 

The third project will be to convert waste heat from power generators into electricity.