Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Operational Base Energy Smarts Finally Emerging - Bigtime

I few weeks ago I posted on "Hybrid Hopes for Greatly Reducing Operational Base Fuel Requirements"

Since then, two more things have come my way.  One was a note from DOD Energy friend and guru Scott Sklar of the DC-based Stella Group, who wrote thusly: 
I asked energy integrator MILSPRAY to bring the unit (mentioned in the post above) to Arlington two weeks ago for the military folks from the different services to 'kick the tires'.  This unit powered the corrosion facility (MCRF) in Quantico, VA from July - October (14 weeks) last year and the fuel savings versus a standard generator was 78.6% (wow), and the the same set-up at 29 Palms, CA. I am beginning to see better-engineered systems that can stand-alone or interact with on-site diesel generators seamlessly.
This is heavy duty news coming from Scott.

Also just received the DOE's Smart and Green Energy (SAGE) for Basecamps final report and it aligns quite nicely with the observations from the previous post. You can read the full document HERE, but just below you'll find the most important bits in summary form.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hybrid Hopes for Greatly Reducing Operational Base Fuel Requirements

Sounds like a microgrid disguised as a generator.  See what you think:
Today, the U.S. military powers its operating bases with diesel generators that run continuously. The problem is that it’s difficult to match the generating capacity with the actual power load from air conditioners, electronics, and other gear, which fluctuates during the day and in different seasons. And when the demand for power is lower than the generator’s full capacity, the fuel efficiency drops off dramatically and the maintenance increases.
Earl Energy’s FlexGen “hybrid generator” is wired to a diesel generator running at full capacity, which is how it's most efficient. When there is excess power, the diesel generator charges the batteries. If the batteries have enough stored energy to meet the demand for electricity, then the generator shuts off. In tests in Afghanistan, the Earl Energy system allowed the generators to run three to six hours a day, compared with around the clock before it was installed, says Doug Moorehead, the CEO of Earl Energy.
Often in stories like these there's a rub.  But if those real-world results from Afghanistan were achieved without any many compromises, then this is clearly a big win in an area we've made almost no progress for decades.  Will be keeping an eye on Moorehead and Earl Energy for sure.

Full IEEE Spectrum article: HERE.