Sunday, April 5, 2009

Can Cars Drive DOD Micro Grids? We'll Soon See.

This is about devising the technical means for a "Plan B" so when DOD units lose the steady flow of electrons from extant power grids, they don't lose their ability to fulfill their missions. Last month's amendment to an Army Broad Agency Agreement (BAA) boosted the incentives for integrators to make headway on the "brittle grid" problem facing bases, both CONUS and forward deployed (FOBs). This action seems to build on battlefield energy management work in a program called Army "HI-Power" noted here last year.

Competitors in position to win this R&D funding are already in motion, but others who follow the space more generally may not have seen it yet. Most interesting is the provision for tapping the power storage (see: gas tanks & batteries) and power generation (see: engines) capabilities of vehicles to supplement other forms of power, including standard diesel generators, wind, solar, etc. Thanks to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), one thing the DOD knows how to do is get fuel to where it's needed.

The short-term schedule for those seeking the $5.7M in first year funds is: 
  • Informal Talks: March 5, 2009 thru April 6, 2009 
  • Proposals Due: April 7, 2009 thru May 7, 2009 
  • Estimated Award Date: June 22, 2009 
From an energy security point of view, this is good stuff; we'll be keeping an eye on it for sure.

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