Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Eric G. Mbonimpa, PhD


The Department of Defense needs energy sources beyond petroleum products to effectively combat area denial strategies employed by its adversaries. Petroleum fuels are expensive, they have deleterious environmental impacts, and most of the world’s oil reservoirs are in volatile countries. A proposed alternative energy carrier is reacting aluminum with water to produce hydrogen and using the hydrogen as a fuel source. Normally aluminum forms a protective oxide layer that prevents continuous reaction but if aluminum is mixed with a 3.5% by weight gallium-indium eutectic, the oxide layer cannot form, and the reaction is sustainable. This study conducts a life cycle assessment, economic analysis, and discusses logistical considerations to compare using diesel to hydrogen derived from the aluminum-water reaction in a Western Pacific theater. The life cycle assessment uses Sphera’s GaBi software and life cycle impact assessment tool TRACI 2.1, to characterize and compare the environmental impacts of diesel and aluminum. Every category of environmental impact is monetized and combined with the economic analysis to provide a single score for comparison. The result is that aluminum, even with the best-case scenario of 90% scrap aluminum and 95% eutectic recovery, is more environmentally harmful and economically expensive than diesel.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number