parts of a base,” he said. A simple example is that there are generators at different parts of military bases. “We have neither the devices nor the technology to share energy across the base,” he said. “One generator may be working at over-capacity and the other at under-capacity, so we use tons more fuel than we have to.”
Bringing smart-grid networking capability together with renewable resources can have a major impact, Dr. Pellegrino said. “While each of these technologies offers a small contribution, together they offer a huge contribution in getting more toward energy independence, either on a small scale or a larger scale,” he said.
Partnerships between Army labs, universities, and industry are critical, Dr. Pelligrino said. New Army partnerships cross many barriers and offer” paradigms that just were not there several years ago,” he said. These partnerships “are key to bringing it home to those who protect us.”
To put the discussion into context, Robert Bachrach of Applied Materials noted that the U.S. market for light vehicles is 20 percent of the global market. “We have the largest installed base, but that is not the market,” he said. “It may be a used parts market, but it is not where the industry is going.” The U.S. military purchases perhaps 10,000 vehicles per year, Mr. Bachrach said. “But we are looking at having to manufacture millions of vehicles a year and millions of battery packs.” He said one must “really look at where the U.S. is in the world today, and most of the market is global.”
Dr. Wessner asked whether he thought the U.S. can to export to those markets. “Well, I think we have to, don’t we?” Mr. Bachrach responded.
Dr. Wessner pointed out that “most countries are willing to export to us, but the other way is harder.”
“The world is changing, and we have to get back to exporting,” Mr. Bachrach said.
The U.S. Army and the DOD in general “are indeed among of the smallest users of battery technology and electronics technology in the world,” Dr. Pellegrino responded. “But we don’t want each of those vehicles to cost $1 billion. It is only by leveraging and working with the commercial market in those higher volumes that you spoke of that we are going to be able to do that.”
In order to export, however, “the stars have to align a lot differently than they have in the past,” Dr. Pellegrino said. “It not only has to be a partnership with the military, industry, and universities across the board. It has to be a partnership as well with policies, taxes, and the whole manufacturing infrastructure together. If you get one piece without the other, it’s not going to work.”