Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Energy Management Spotlight: Army HI-Power for Tactical Power Grids

There's nothing in this program I don't like.  Well, with the possible exception that moving from multiple isolated "power islands" to centralized grids in tactical environments makes it easier to accidently knock out power to all users.  Or easier for hostiles to take out the whole site with one well placed shot. Well, I'm sure Army RDECOM and the contractors will figure it out. Otherwise, the type of thinking and investigation that's going on at the HI-Power program is a case study in how to achieve maximum efficiencies through process and system optimization. (HI = hybrid intelligent.)

Here's how the recent DDR&E Energy Task Force paper describes the goals for HI-Power:
Solutions currently being pursued include the development of active distribution networks and intelligent / automated hybrid power systems. Power management and distribution techniques will enable maximum power utilization with a high degree of efficiency for use with various mobile and portable applications in the 2 to 500 kilowatt range.

This power management architecture will include small and medium sized tactical versions for mobile forces and larger transportable systems appropriate for forward operating bases. Initial models estimate fuel savings of up to 40 percent, reduced maintenance and personnel requirements, and fewer power interruptions. The resulting architecture shall impose minimum impacts on transportability, deployability, and readiness levels of current and upcoming platforms.

1 comment:

Gary Olson said...

I don't understand the comment about a single hit knocking out the whole system. The whole concept of a microgrid is to have autonomous power sources that cooperate with each other rather than a central control for all of them.

This is technology that is "off the shelf" for many suppliers so shouldn't be a huge surprise if is successful.