Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. --
Dennis McGinn, the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, visited Quantico on Feb. 7, 2014, to tour the base and see a demonstration of a new piece of equipment that could save the Marine Corps money in fuel.
“In the field, Marines have to take all sorts of equipment out into the field,” said Jaspal Brar, the lead engineer on the project. “Some of that equipment requires an electrical power source which means a generator needs to be available. Right now, Marines have to take these generators, which take up space and need fuel to run.”
The MTVR-Auxiliary Power Unit is currently in Phase 2 of development. This replaces the generators that need to be hauled around by the Marines, freeing up space and, because it’s more fuel efficient, it could save the Marine Corps almost 60 percent in fuel according to estimates made by the engineers.
The APU attaches to the cab of a 7-ton truck and, in its current version, can put out 10 kilowatts of power while using less fuel, which is more than the current models produce.
Marine Corps Systems Command compared the MTVR-APU and the standard “under the hood” engine for a 7-ton truck by running both of them under a 3kW load for an hour, the truck produced 120 amps over an hour using almost a gallon of gas, while the MTVR-APU provided the same amount of power using less than half a gallon of gas.
Right now, the MTVR-APU has the ability to power computers, radios and even weapons systems directly from the mounted unit instead of a portable generator. At almost 500 pounds, the unit is bulky and more difficult to handle compared to the smaller, less powerful portable models.
“We have multiple units testing this equipment,” said Gunnery Sgt. Patrick Schofell, the project officer for the MTVR-APU program. “They could come back and tell us they didn’t need a certain outlet, or if a piece of equipment wasn’t used at all. Using that information, we could make the unit smaller and easier to handle and still keep the efficiency of the machine.”
The APU is still in the early stages of development before it goes out to the field to be used by Marines. When all the tests and experiments are complete, these machines could make a big impact on fuel consumption in the Marine Corps.
“This could save us a lot of money in fuel,” said McGinn. “And that money could go toward other things Marines need out in the field.”