The Chrysler Town & Country Natrium,DaimlerChrysler's fuel-cell concept vehicle running on clean, nonflammable,and recyclable sodium borohydride fuel, participated in aride-and-drive display program at the Pentagon at the request of actingSecretary of the Navy, Honorable H.T. Johnson. This program took place onApril 21 as part of Earth Day celebrations and was an opportunity for topmilitary officials to experience the advantages of the Chrysler Natriumfuel-cell vehicle.According to the company, the Natrium is the first fuel-cell powered vehicle built to operate onsodium borohydride, a fuel made from borax which is a mineral available inabundant supply in the Western United States. In the Natrium minivan, thistechnology delivers the environmental benefits of a fuel-cell vehiclewithout the loss of cargo or passenger space, while providing a range of300 miles, longer than any other fuel-cell vehicle. Hydrogen is extractedfrom sodium borohydride to power the fuel cell. Sodium borohydride is acompound chemically related to borax, the naturally-occurring substancecommonly used in laundry soap."Chrysler Group has a long and proud history of supporting our nationaldefense efforts," said Bernard I Robertson, senior vice president, Researchand Regulatory Affairs. "This unique technology could have great benefitsfor the military: in particular, it is nonflammable, greatly improvingsafety in battle zones, and the main ingredient can be transported as a drypowder, dramatically reducing the enormous logistical demands of fuelingour military in advanced battle settings."In addition, the greater fleet fuel efficiency would greatly reduce theamount of fuel used by our armed forces--fuel that can cost hundreds ofdollars per gallon to deliver to the battlefield. And this technologyproduces zero smog-forming and greenhouse gases, contributing to a cleanerenvironment. Finally, sodium borohydride has the potential to reduce or eliminate ourdependence on oil for our transportation needs."The U.S. armed forces have expressed interest in alternative-fuel vehiclesin order to stretch the military's mobility into the future with improvedfuel economy and range. Benefits include a decreased dependency on oilwhich significantly decreases cost of operation and increases the range andreach of individual task forces, says the company.