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6 green things the U.S. military is doing

June 13, 2011, 11:30 a.m.
tent with solar panels

Photo: U.S. Army

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Solar-powered tents

The U.S. Army wants to reduce the amount of fuel required to support soldiers while in the field with the solar-powered shade tent. Last year the Army tested flexible photovoltaic panels that could be deployed by soldiers to charge up any of the myriad batteries they carry while on operations. Flexible solar panels are easy to move and are clean and quiet — there's no chugging generator pumping out smelly exhaust fumes. Transporting fuel into combat zones can be incredibly expensive and dangerous for those driving and protecting the convoys of trucks. By the time a gallon of gas reaches some remote outposts in Afghanistan, the cost of transporting it can reach as high as $400. (Solar panels start to look really good at that price.)