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Fuels & Lubricants Research Facility




Since May 9, 1957, TARDEC laboratory at Southwest Research Institute has provided

state-of-the-art research, development and engineering services

for the Army's fuels and lubricants needs [more]


  image of U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX

U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas

image of TARDEC video

TARDEC Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility Video

The U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility is a government-owned contractor-operated (GOCO) facility that provides state-of-the-art research, development, and engineering services. It functions as an extension of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), Force Projection Technology Business Area, located in Warren, Mich. In 2012, the TARDEC facility celebrated its 55th year of operation at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Augmented by the diverse staff and modern facilities available at SwRI, the TARDEC facility competently conducts fuels and lubricants research for the:

  • U.S. Army 

  • Department of Defense

  • Department of Energy

  • Other government agencies such as DARPA

  • Commercial clients

U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility Laboratory Equipment

The U.S. Army built the facility at SwRI as a stand-alone laboratory complex with capabilities for engine testing and analytical chemistry experiments. These capabilities parallel, on a smaller scale, the commercial capabilities available in the SwRI Engine Lubricants Research and Petroleum Products Research Departments. As the partnership between the Army and SwRI evolved, the Army increasingly has depended on SwRI’s commercial facilities for more standardized evaluations, and the TARDEC facility became more focused on custom projects.


Areas of Expertise

Program briefs provide additional areas of expertise.


On-Site Facilities

A number of specialized on-site facilities are either housed within the TARDEC laboratories or are readily available at SwRI for TARDEC.  These facilities include light-duty vehicle emissions testing, heavy-duty vehicle chassis testing, fleet and fuel capabilities, mileage accumulations dynamometers, engine dynamometer cold testing, temperature-controlled vehicle test chambers, a temperature-controlled emissions enclosure, and a fully equipped fuel analysis laboratory. In addition, an on-site test track is available for various types of vehicle testing.


Technologies and Accomplishments

For more than 50 years, engineers and scientists at the SwRI TARDEC facility have used their expertise and experience to solve a comprehensive range of fuel and filtration problems. TARDEC staff play important roles in major technical committees and are instrumental in developing and establishing standards used throughout the automotive industry. Current technology efforts have been successful in the development of fire-resistant fuels that will not only save countless numbers of lives during active combat but will also reduce costs for U.S. military operations.


Doing Business with the TARDEC Facility at SwRI

Doing business with the TARDEC facility at SwRI begins with a phone call or email to one of the TARDEC scientists or engineers. SwRI provides research and development services to commercial companies and government agencies in a variety of contractual arrangements, including:

  • Multiclient programs

  • Task order contracts

  • Design Engineering Program (DEP) contracts

  • Basic ordering agreements

  • A contract to serve as an off-site research and development department for a company under non-disclosure agreements

For more information about the TARDEC facility at SwRI or how you can contract with the TARDEC facility or SwRI, contact Gary Bessee at or (210) 522-6941.


Contact Information

Gary Bessee

U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels & Lubricants Research Facility

(210) 522-6941

Related Terminology

fuel research

lubricant research


government-owned contractor-operated



fire resistant technology

biodiesel fuel technology

hydrogen technology

filtration and fine particle technology

synthetic jet fuel

fuel nozzles

fuels and fluids


aviation fuel filters

independent research lab

Related Links

Fuels and Lubricants Technology Department

Site Map

U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels and Lubricants (TFLRF) Brochure


| Fuels and Lubricants Technology Department | Fuels and Lubricants Research Division | SwRI Home |

Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit,

applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.

August 07, 2014