Reading Sample: White Paper

What You Need to Know about Green Defense

“We cannot choose between either green or strong armed forces, we need strong and green at the same time”, said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg during a speech in 2021. The second part of our whitepaper entitled “What You Need to Know about Green Defense” sheds light on the role climate change plays in Europe’s defense policy and which green defense technologies our armed forces are already relying on. An exclusive excerpt is available here:

The Green Transformation of the German Armed Forces

To achieve a climate-neutral government by 2030 and a climate-neutral German Armed Forces by 2045, Germany has launched a series of climate action initiatives. Despite relatively low carbon emissions per capita within the German Armed Forces compared to other countries, the need for a sustainable transformation is obvious, especially in light of the geopolitical tensions caused by the Ukraine conflict.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defense has made sustainability an integral part of its operational and structural planning. This is reflected in the German Armed Forces’ fifth sustainability report. A central aspect of the transformation is the integration of environmental protection measures in all areas and the inclusion of climate issues in security policy considerations.

As part of the “Green Barracks” project, the German Armed Forces are experimenting with renewable energies and alternative heating systems such as heat pumps and district heating in order to reduce their carbon footprint. The “Infrastructure” expert group is supporting these efforts by focusing on improving energy efficiency and selfsufficiency, including the electrical operation of military properties.

The German Armed Forces are also striving to replace fossil fuels with renewable alternatives in the area of mobility, both for use at home and on foreign missions. A “Mobility” expert group set up by the ministry identified areas of action back in 2019, including the development of an integral system architecture and research into synthetic fuels.

One aim is to increasingly supplement the energy supply of the deployment infrastructure, which to date has mainly been provided by fuel-powered generators, with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy. Changes in user behavior and technological innovations are also part of the strategy to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. These efforts serve both to mitigate climate change and to ensure operational sustainability, whereby the mission requirements of the German Armed Forces are to take priority.

Total Emissions by Sector 

In addition to the German Armed Forces’ properties at home and abroad, military mobility is a significant factor in overall emissions. The German Armed Forces’ sustainability report describes the operational profile as being characterized by energy-dense fuels, whereby the potential use of alternative drive systems under current military requirements remains limited. Direct electrification and gaseous energy sources such as hydrogen have been ruled out due to the high energy density required by the military. E-fuels – liquid, synthetic fuels from sustainable sources – are being considered as a potential alternative to fossil fuels. The production of e-fuels is still in its infancy, however, and requires significant investment and consumes a great deal of electrical energy. Furthermore, it is already foreseeable today that civil aviation, in particular, will be directly competing for every liter of production capacity for green e-fuels in the short term.

iStock / artJazz

German Armed Forces’ Projects

  • Use of renewable energy: The German Armed Forces operate several solar energy projects, such as the solar array on the grounds of the University of the German Armed Forces in Munich, which is one of the largest photovoltaic installations in Bavaria.
  • Hybrid and electric vehicles in logistics: The German Armed Forces are increasingly integrating electric and hybrid vehicles into their non-tactical fleets in order to reduce carbon emissions and improve operational efficiency.
  • Use of microgrid technologies: As part of the Smart Energy Networks initiative, which is part of the German Armed Forces’ armaments innovation program, research is being conducted into the use of microgrids to optimize the self-sufficient and efficient supply of energy during foreign missions.
  • Energy efficiency in buildings and infrastructure: The German Armed Forces are aiming to reduce their buildings’ energy requirements through energyefficient modernization measures such as improved insulation, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and lighting.
  • Improved waste management and recycling: The German Armed Forces are implementing concepts to optimize waste separation and recycling, such as the waste separation system at the Baumholder military training area, as part of their environmental management activities.
  • Development of biofuels and alternative fuels: In order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions, the German Armed Forces are funding research projects into the use of alternative fuels, including biofuels.
  • Modern gensets: Germany’s Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) engaged VINCORION to develop and produce advanced power generators and corresponding battery storage modules. These are due to be delivered in the 200 and 50 kilowatt power classes starting in 2026, following successful troop testing and pilot production.

You can download the full white paper here.

What You Need to Know about Green Defense

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