One of the focuses of our BETI effort has been the potential intersection with the military. I mean, here we are as the Prosperity Partnership, trying to establish an international hug for the energy efficiency technology cluster here in the central Puget Sound. And here we are in the central Puget Sound with one of the largest concentrations of military presence in the country. And there the military is making bold public statements about how they see clean tech and energy efficiency as a key to their core mission. Kinda seems like there must be some mutually beneficial connection, yes?
Luckily for me, I don’t need to do a lot of research to understand how that might work, because ITIF wrote this lovely report entitled “Lean, Mean and Clean: Energy Innovation and the Department of Defense.”
Let’s read along together and see what we learn!
Let’s start with this easy to read chart:
THE ADVANTAGES OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The Defense Science Board found several strategic reasons to seek out energy efficiency improvements. From its 2001 report:
- Surprise: Fuel efficiency increases platform stealth by diminishing the platform’s heat signatures, exhaust, and/or wakes; and affords less chance of compromising movement by reducing the logistics tail and resupply communications.
- Mass: Fuel efficiency decreases the time required to assemble an overwhelming force.
- Efficiency: Fuel efficiency increases commander’s flexibility in efficiently assembling an overwhelming force.
- Maneuver: Platforms will travel faster and farther with reduced weight and smaller logistics tails that improve platform agility, loiter and flexibility.
- Security: Fuel efficiency decreases platform vulnerability to attacks on supply lines, and reduces demand for strategic reserves.
- Simplicity: Fuel efficiency decreases the complexity and frequency of refueling operations and logistics planning, while reducing vulnerability to the “Fog of War.”
Thanks for making the case for me. But how might an entity like BETI be useful to the military. Oh, how about this quote right here:
There are several policy mechanisms through which DOD pursues innovation and translation. Conceptually, these mechanisms can be broken into three categories, tied directly to various phases of the typical innovation process.
- Direct R&D support…
- Demonstration and validation. Once mission-critical technologies have been developed, they must be tested to ensure operational viability. The nature of DOD’s mission means that it is able to request and enforce high standards for technology performance. Thus, in its testing activities, DOD can help to drive performance improvements by acting as a demanding, high-quality customer, an important ingredient in innovative success. This is also a function that DOD can perform exceedingly well, where other agencies (notably the Department of Energy) have a less-than-stellar track record.
Jeff Marqusee, Director of DOD’s Strategic Environmental R&D Program and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, has said, “The role for DOD we see, particularly for this class of technologies that overlap the civil sector, is to be a test-bed for them: to be a place where we can take the high risk to try out new technologies, where we can partner with DOE, directly with the private sector, with the venture capital sector, to bring on technologies which haven’t been used yet or widely deployed, get the lessons learned, and find out what are the winners and losers.” (emphases added)
Nice dig at DoE at the end of the first paragraph! Nothing like a little interagency competition to get the blood flowing, I suppose. But I digress. I think the point is pretty obvious. BETI, meet DoD. You two are going to be very good friends.