The Defense Department is no stranger to being on the forefront of advanced technology and its expertise was once again showcased with the recent opening of the Army’s GSPEL (Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory) at the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineer Center (TARDEC) in Warren this week.

According to Army officials, GSPEL is an 8-in-1 lab designed to investigate and develop the next generation of power and energy systems for the Army, with a focus on what civilians would call “green energy” – technologies such as fuel cells, hybrid vehicles and energy storage.

Why the focus on green energy? According to information on the TARDEC website, 80% of the conveys in Afghanistan are ferrying fuel. By converting to “greener” technologies, this will be reduced, thereby saving lives and costs.

Dr. Joseph Westphal, Under Secretary of the Army explained, “The work done at the GSPEL will make our Soldiers’ loads lighter, reduce their energy requirements, and reduce the number of Soldiers we put into harm’s way to supply energy. The facility will not only make us more efficient and save resources, but will save lives in combat as well”

Simultaneously with the opening of the GSPEL, the Army issued a press release announcing plans for a “Green Warrior Convoy” next year that will travel from Warren to Washington D.C. The convoy will not only be a “road test” for this “energy efficient” equipment, it will also serve to demonstrate and educate the public about fuel cell, battery and alternative fuel technology.