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30 Aug 18. Windshield Wiper Fluid a Potential Battlefield Fuel. Fuel cells using methanol may finally be making inroads with the Army after years of research and development. Beth Ferry, power division chief at the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, said resistance to the technology has come in the form of the service’s “one fuel forward” policy of sticking with JP-8 to power all its ground vehicles, aircraft and generators. JP-8, however, has many impurities that make its use as stock for fuel cells inefficient. That, plus the desire to have only one fuel in the logistics tail, has impeded the use of methanol fuel cells in battlefields. But methanol is already widely distributed in the Army in the form of windshield wiper fluid.
“Look at the ingredients on the back,” Ferry told National Defense.
Brad McNeilly-Anta, command post consultant at CERDEC, said there will be a feasibility study to see if the dyes and cleaning agents can be stripped away from windshield wiper fluid. Doing so would make it an efficient stock for methanol fuel cells.
Meanwhile, opposition to methanol-based fuel cells in the Army is breaking down, Ferry said. Special Operations Command is already using it for some niche applications. It has all of its safety certifications and — since it comes in bottles — is nothing more than “packaged energy” just like a regular battery, she said.
CERDEC is using an XX55 fuel cell made by Ultracell LLC of Livermore, California, that supplies energy to the experimental expeditionary joint battle command platform. The backpackable system — which is designed to provide dismounted troops satellite connectivity — once weighed 60 pounds, but is now down to 23 pounds, said McNeilly-Anta.
Part of the solution to reducing the weight was the fuel cell. It took two standard batteries to power the transceiver, pad and encryption device. Now, a 1-liter package of methanol coupled with the fuel cell does all that for more than 24 hours, he said.
Ferry said methanol fuel cells are being looked at more seriously for these niche applications.
There is also some disagreement within the Army on what the “one fuel forward” policy means. “Would we be running a vehicle on a methanol fueled battery? No. But when you look at methanol as a packaged fuel … how is it different from a battery?” she asked. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
16 Aug 18. Uganda unveils Nyoka production facility. Uganda revealed its armoured vehicle production facility for the first time on 8 August, when it was officially opened by President Yoweri Museveni. The Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF) said the Nyoka Conversion Project is located at the Magamaga Barracks in the Mayuge district, east of the capital Kampala. The Nyoka is a remanufactured and improved Mamba, a type of South African mine-protected armoured vehicle the UPDF acquired from South Africa in the 1990s. It is promoted by the South African company Twiga and its Kampala-based affiliate Impala Services and Logistics, which is involved in the Ugandan project. Twiga told the South African website defenceWeb in 2014 that 10 Nyokas were being assembled in Uganda using remanufactured Mamba drivelines and armour plate cut in South Africa. At least part of that process has now moved to Uganda as a plasma cutting machine made by the Slovakian company MicroStep was seen in the Ugandan television news coverage of Museveni’s visit to Magamaga barracks.
Brigadier Charles Byanyima, the commander of the facility, provided more details of the programme in his speech during the event, saying the first phase of the project produced 10 vehicles, the second another 10, and the current phase is producing 13.
UPDF chief David Muhoozi said planning is under way for new projects once this process is complete. “A conversation is taking place to link this facility with other additional possibilities so that this capacity doesn’t lie idle after we complete the overhaul of all our light armour fleet,” he said.
Brig Byanyima provided one possibility for a future project, saying “there is a need to advance to another IFV [infantry fighting vehicle] called the Nyoka Mk 2”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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