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Gm’s prototype EV. Are the tan jerry cans full of electricity?
credit: GMdefense

In Military EVs: Backward To The Front! I wrote about the folly of trying to electrify military vehicles:

*Logistics: mastering logistics is what wins wars.  How can an army possibly recharge EVs in the field?  They’ll need huge numbers of hugely powerful generators, powered by diesel fuel, which will have to be transported by diesel trucks.  Why huge?  Generators will have to be sufficiently powerful to charge multiple EVs at once, otherwise an army would need nearly a charger per vehicle to operate in the field.  Unless Tony Stark licenses his Arc reactor technology, that means huge numbers of really big generators.  Batteries have only a fraction of the energy density of fossil fuels; their efficiency loss is enormous.  Electricity can’t be stored in any meaningful way; it has to be generated for real time use.  This fossil fuel fact, and low cost—pre-Biden—is why fossil fuels have made modern, technological life possible and productive.  It’s also what makes our military possible.  Imagine the horror of having to tow diesel generators, which will be necessary to charge the EV trucks towing them, which won’t be able to charge other vehicles while they’re charging the EV trucks.  All the transformative EV combat vehicles will need to sit in one place, not for 10-15 minutes, but hours, while being recharged by heat-producing, noisy generators, which can only charge to about 80% capacity because full capacity takes an hour or more longer.  This is not conducive to short-term survival or winning wars.

I concluded with this:

Consider this: woke lunacy, including vaccination mandates, is already driving people out of our military and greatly complicating recruitment.  When people learn our military vehicles are deathtraps, when they learn our military isn’t serious about protecting America, who is going to volunteer?

But hey, we’re combatting climate change!  Somehow, I don’t think the Chinese, Russians, Iranians, or any of our other enemies will be impressed, or frightened.

And now, it seems our military is doubling down on stupid—and deadly. They’re planning to use portable wind turbines to provide electrical power in the field. Cowboy State Daily reports:

credit: cowboy state daily

The U.S. Department of Energy is pursuing a program to develop deployable wind turbines to be used in military defense and disaster relief operations. [skip]

Many people might ask why a diesel-powered generator wouldn’t be a better tool for the job. They fit into a small space and provide constant, reliable power. 

According to a white paper on the project, the logistics of bringing in liquid fuel to generators in a military operation presents vulnerabilities, as the supplies can be attacked and destroyed. 

They’re just figuring this out? This is a new concept in warfare? There’s an old, but accurate military aphorism: “ Amateurs talk tactics; professionals talk logistics.”

The strength of the Defense and Disaster Deployable Turbine (D3T) concept is that an operation would have access to a source of power without having to bring in steady supplies of liquid fuel that can be blown up by the enemy.  

Brent Summerville, a researcher and systems engineer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, told Cowboy State Daily that defense and disaster industries also are interested in low-carbon energy in their operations. 

Of course, because what’s more important in warfare than “low-carbon energy?”

Transporting a deployable wind turbine is the program’s challenge. It needs to be easy to ship, but also easy to assemble on site. 

A standard wind turbine is erected in a concrete foundation, and cranes lift the tall steel towers up. That’s not feasible in situations where the D3T turbines would be deployed. 

Thank goodness we have such engineering genius in our federal government.

The team of researchers, which includes Sandia National Laboratories, developed 20-kilowatt wind turbines that fold up and fit into 20-foot shipping containers used by the U.S. military and American Red Cross. 

Fortunately, Cowboy State Daily is grounded in reality:

Microgrid setups in a disaster situation wouldn’t have to worry about protecting the equipment. In a war situation, enemies could just as easily fire a rocket propelled grenade at a turbine as they could set an explosive device in the road to take out a truck hauling fuel. 

Sticking a spinning propeller on top of a tower 50 feet or more above ground where no such things should be might also tend to draw the attention of enemy forces.

Col. Tucker Fagan (ret.) said a defense mission needs clear objectives, and it might put troops in jeopardy if concerns about emissions in operations dilutes the focus. 

Fagan, who lives in Cheyenne, spent 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, where he was head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Nuclear Section. He led the team that created the so-called “nuclear football” for President Ronald Reagan, the briefcase with information that allows the president to authorize a nuclear strike.

“We learned that lesson in Vietnam. We applied it in the first Gulf War. And then we’re back to the old way. What is the objective?” Fagan said. 

The turbines make a lot of sense in a disaster situation, Fagan said, but if they’re going to be used in a military application, it shouldn’t compromise the safety of the military personnel. 

“I would really have some concerns,” Fagan said. 

Final Thoughts: I have some concerns too.

CH-47 Chinook
credit: boeing

In the disaster support role, portable windmills might—might—be a workable solution, however not enough is known to make that determination. How expensive are they? What is necessary to transport them? If it’s a small flatbed truck, it might work. If a CH-47 Chinook is necessary—maximum lift, 24,000 pounds—that’s another matter. The reliability issue never goes away. In disaster response, reliable, constant power is a necessity. Windmills cannot provide it—ever. Another issue is the reliability of the windmill itself. Do they work as advertised? Are they mechanically and electronically reliable?  Are they easily user-serviced in the field? We have no idea.

Note the article doesn’t specify how much power could be produced. It also doesn’t address the issue of the lack of reliability of windmills, which produce no power when the wind isn’t blowing, and little when it’s blowing weakly. Depending on where and when they are deployed, little or no power could be available. Windmills can’t be set up in the middle of a forest.  They’d have to be set up in places with maximum wind exposure, in other words, out in the open, probably on hill tops.  They can’t be camouflaged, made to blend in with their surroundings.  The presence of a windmill suddenly popping up in the field would be nothing less than a “here we are; come kill us” flashing neon sign for enemies. While trucks carrying fuel are at least mobile and thus harder targets, windmills, and the troops forced to use them, would be sitting ducks. 

Diesel generators can be set up and running in minutes.  They can be refueled in minutes.  They are far smaller and more easily transported and positioned than windmills.  We have no idea how long it will take to set up these windmills, nor whether they can produce reliable useful power as soon as they are set up.

The issue, as Col. Fagan notes, is “what is the objective?” If the objective is producing reliable power for troops in the field without exposing them to unnecessary risk, windmills are absolutely not the answer. If the objective is green virtue signaling at any cost without regard for the survival of troops, they’re a brilliant solution to a nonexistent problem.

Just as with electric vehicles for our military, this idea is not only a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, it’s yet another “technology” that will be more dangerous to our troops than to the enemy. With the Biden Meat Puppet Administration, that seems to be the consistent objective.