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U.S. Army opens lab to research hybrid technology

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Captain Robert Shaw plugs a cord into this Fuel Efficient Demonstrator vehicle (FED) named, "BRAVO" to power electronics in the grand-opening tent, Wednesday, April 11, 2012 in Warren, Mich. The U.S. Army unveiled a new laboratory Wednesday that can simulate Afghanistan's desert heat and Antarctica's extreme cold in an effort to discover how to save energy and make combat vehicles fuel-efficient. (AP)

A new Ground Systems Power and Energy Lab opening in Warren will help the U.S Army of tomorrow become a more fuel efficient fighting machine.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Wednesday at the new Army laboratory at TARDEC where technology such as fuel cells and hybrid systems for combat vehicles will be developed.

Federal officials say the facility at the Detroit Arsenal is unique in that it brings together a number of high-technology testing capabilities in a single facility that can test vehicle components, systems and full vehicles, which will enable TARDEC to increase its collaboration with the Department of Energy, industry and academia.

Among it's features, the lab can simulate the desert heat of Afghanistan and a bone-chilling day in Antarctica and can transition between the extremes in temperatures in a matter of minutes.

According to a release, Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, secured $18.5 million in the fiscal year 2008 Military Construction Appropriations bill for the construction of the GSPEL and an additional $6 million in the defense appropriations bill to help outfit GSPEL with the latest laboratory equipment.

The new lab also received $15 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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