Army making base camps more energy efficient to reduce resupply demand

Data collection takes place for CERDEC's Innovative Cooling Equipment program, which aims to reduce the electrical energy required to produce cooling and heating for forward bases as well as Brigade and below environmental requirements, during a demonstration at the Base Camp Integration Lab at Fort Devens, Massachusetts July 7-31, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Allison Barrow)

Data collection takes place for CERDEC’s Innovative Cooling Equipment program, which aims to reduce the electrical energy required to produce cooling and heating for forward bases as well as Brigade and below environmental requirements, during a demonstration at the Base Camp Integration Lab at Fort Devens, Massachusetts July 7-31, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Allison Barrow)

By Jeffrey Sisto (NSRDEC) and Allison Barrow (CERDEC)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — When you need to charge a cell phone or turn on the lights, the power is typically there. You most likely don’t have to wonder how you’ll get it or how long you’ll have it. 

But for Soldiers at small base camps in forward operational environments, being able to harness and maintain power is essential for operating effectively. The better they’re able to manage available power and energy, the less they have to rely on resupply convoys to bring more fuel and batteries, driving up costs, taking Soldiers away from other missions, and risking lives in the process.

The Secretary of the Army, the Army Chief of Staff, and the Sergeant Major of the Army made effective energy solutions a top priority, and the Army has a number of initiatives to make base camps more energy efficient by enabling Soldiers to not only maintain power for longer, but to intelligently control power distribution. The aim is to decrease the power draw and more smartly manage the use of available power, limiting the number of resupply convoys needed.

The Army demonstrated a number of these integrated capabilities at the Base Camp Integration Lab at Fort Devens, Massachusetts July 7-31, with the overall goal of reducing fuel, water and waste at small base camps. 

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Energizing base camps of the future

Lt. Col. Ross Poppenberger, Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems (left), speaks with Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, about energy-efficient Rigid Wall Camps, during the Nov. 5, 2013,

Lt. Col. Ross Poppenberger, Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems (left), speaks with Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, about energy-efficient Rigid Wall Camps, during the Nov. 5, 2013, “Base Camp Resource and Energy Efficiency Day” at the Army Base Camp Integration Laboratory, Fort Devens, Mass. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. (Nov. 6, 2013) — Innovations meant to improve Soldiers’ quality of life during deployments — while saving lives, fuel, water and money — were on display here Nov. 5, at the Army Base Camp Integration Laboratory.

The Army Base Camp Integration Laboratory, or BCIL, hosted its second annual “Base Camp Resource and Energy Efficiency Day.” Situated on 10 acres at Fort Devens, the laboratory features two “Force Provider” 150-person base camps. One contains standard technologies; the other offers a glimpse into the Army’s energy future.

Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, and Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, Army deputy chief of staff, Logistics, were among those attending the event. They were briefed about shelters, power management, energy storage, waste disposal and waste-to-energy systems, alternative energy, micro-grids, energy-efficient structures, rigid-wall camps, and fuel-fired kitchens.

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Picatinny advances ‘computer chip of the future’

The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny recently won the 2013 Federal Laboratory Consortium Northeast Region Award for its excellence in technology transfer as demonstrated by its HyperX chip technology.

The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., recently won the 2013 Federal Laboratory Consortium Northeast Region Award for its excellence in technology transfer as demonstrated by its HyperX chip technology.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (September 25, 2013) — As the power and popularity of mobile devices grows, so does the desire for faster data processing without consuming much power.

The HyperX computer chip technology, under development by researchers at Picatinny Arsenal holds the promise to deliver that goal for both commercial and military users.

The small, HyperX chip was intentionally designed to meet high volume, low power processing requirements.

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Picatinny to remove tons of toxins from lethal rounds

Belts of .50 caliber ammunition await U.S. Soldiers with the 6th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Engineer Brigade, as they prepare to conduct qualifications on the M2 .50 caliber machine gun at a range in Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 14, 2012. The Pyrotechnics Division of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is developing an alternate formula for certain armor-piercing incendiary projectiles that is friendlier to the environment than the chemicals currently being used.

Belts of .50 caliber ammunition await U.S. Soldiers with the 6th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Engineer Brigade, as they prepare to conduct qualifications on the M2 .50 caliber machine gun at a range in Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 14, 2012. Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (August 22, 2013) — An enemy convoy transporting a supply of fuel rumbles across the desert floor, an ideal target for armor-piercing incendiary projectiles.

These projectiles are most useful for “after-armor effects,” such as an incandescent flash immediately after penetrating a hard target. The resulting plume may be useful for devastating any fuel-storage facilities by igniting the fuel vapors.

The Army uses a formulation called IM-28 that is charged into certain armor-piercing incendiary projectiles, which can be fired from such weapons as the M2, M3, and M85 machine guns.

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‘Long-Lived Power’ could extend life for battlefield sensors

Photo Credit: Doug LaFonJohn Russo, who uses 3D printing to fabricate the Long-Lived Power battery casings, works with Marc Litz, Ph.D., both of the Power and Energy Division at U.S. Army Research Laboratory, to measure output voltage on space-grade photovoltaic cells before bonding tritium capsule to a photovoltaic wafer.

ADELPHI, Md. (Aug. 5, 2013) — “Long-Lived Power” sounds like it could be an energy revolution, a revolutionary of sorts within the family of far-reaching energy solutions for the battlefield — because it uses radioisotopes.

It is a power source that supports low power for years — 100 microwatts of average power — according to its developers.

Scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory are testing tritium, a radioisotope that is produced in nuclear reactors, to power sensors. This alternative energy source could give sensors — the eyes and ears of warfighters — a battlefield energy source capable of lasting a 13-year half-life. Half-life is the measure of time it takes for the material to fall to half of its value.

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Army scientists improve garbage-to-energy prototype device

With a zero carbon footprint, the improved TGER 2.0 prototype reduces the volume of waste in 30 to one ratio. According to ECBC scientist James Valdes, 30 cubic yards of trash could be reduced to one cubic yard of ash.

With a zero carbon footprint, the improved TGER 2.0 prototype reduces the volume of waste in 30 to one ratio. According to ECBC scientist James Valdes, 30 cubic yards of trash could be reduced to one cubic yard of ash.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The year was 2008 and the on-going war in Iraq was a dangerous landscape for Soldiers on the ground, especially convoys traveling to and from base camps.

Roadside bombs and enemy ambushes were frequent occurrences for U.S. Armed Forces transporting fuel, a risk that may be reduced if camps are equipped with a Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery prototype.

“If you’re a forward-operating base, you don’t want a local contractor coming in to haul your garbage out because you don’t know if they’re good guys or bad guys,” said Dr. James Valdes, a senior technologist at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. “You also don’t want to be hauling fuel in because those convoys are targets and risk the lives of Soldiers and contractors.”

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Lightning storm! Our article has gone viral

This image could only be more popular if we photoshopped a Pikachu in there.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Our article on the laser-induced plasma channel technology has gone viral! We’ve been featured in quite a few media outlets from across the country as well as on international websites.

A slew of technology and science news sites have run the image and have adapted the release for their own.

A few media outlets in the United Kingdom have run it as well.

Here’s one from the Philippines, Russia, and Turkey.

And if I understood Portuguese, Hungarian, German, Lithuanian, and especially the Polish language, I could tell you what they said about the technology.

Oh, and it also appeared here, here, and here.

Ensuring a highly capable force within evolving budgetary constraints

Staff Sgt. Reag Wood of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 5th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, uses his iPhone to observe mock insurgents during an exercise at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Dec. 8, 2010. Photo: Fort Bliss Public Affairs Office

Staff Sgt. Reag Wood of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 5th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, uses his iPhone to observe mock insurgents during an exercise at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Dec. 8, 2010. Photo: Fort Bliss Public Affairs Office

Communications devices, GPS, portable displays: They’re all hungry for power. Today’s Soldier would be better served with batteries that last longer, are lighter and recharge wirelessly.

There’s a good article on Wired.com about how Army researchers are working to eliminate cables with wireless chargers that may have a range of more than 50 feet!

Army scientists are also hard at work building better batteries. In the future, we’ll all benefit from the outstanding research done today in Army labs.

Army scientists energize battery research

Emily Wikner, an Army Research Laboratory intern, assists in battery research. She will be a junior this year at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson, RDECOM Public Affairs)

Emily Wikner, an Army Research Laboratory intern, assists in battery research. She will be a junior this year at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson, RDECOM Public Affairs)

 

By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs

ADELPHI, Md. — Army scientists are squeezing more power from batteries by developing new methods and materials with incredible results.

“Our battery group has recently developed some new materials that could potentially increase the energy density of batteries by 30 percent,” said Dr. Cynthia Lundgren, electrochemical branch chief at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

This small group of scientists work on energy and power solutions for America’s Soldiers.

“This 30 percent is actually quite a big deal. Typically improvements range about 1 percent a year with a few step changes,” Lundgren said.

For years, researchers studied how batteries work. They looked at how each component reacts with another. At high voltages batteries are extremely energetic systems.

“There has never been a battery, a single cell, that operated at 5 volts,” Lundgren explained. “Through our understanding of that interface, we were able to design an additive that you add into the electrolyte that is somewhat of a sacrificial agent. It preferentially reacts with the electrode and forms a stable interface. Now the battery is able to operate at 5 volts.”

Scientists are calling the additive a major step forward. Since Army researchers Dr. Kang Xu and Dr. Arthur Cresce designed the substance two years ago, the lab has filed patent applications.

“This is what you would call a quantum leap,” Cresce said. “We’ve gone from circling around a certain type of 4 volt energy for quite a while. All of a sudden a whole new class of batteries and voltages are open to us. The door is open that was closed before.”

Army research has the potential to reduce battery weight and allow Soldiers to carry more ammunition or water.

“Our goal is to make things easier for the Soldier,” Lundgren said. “This research started because of the Army’s unique needs. There is a huge investment in batteries.”

In the future, Lundgren hopes they just don’t make better materials, but rather design new types of energy devices undreamt of today.

“We’re looking at designing systems to allow for ubiquitous energy — energy anywhere for the Soldier using indigenous sources,” Lundgren said. “Some of our new programs are looking at how we may make fuel out of water. For instance, can we split water and make hydrogen to be used as fuel in a fuel cell or small engine?”

Lundgren said future advances will occur with the right resources.

“The laboratory gives us really good resources, but our highest value resource is our scientists,” she said. “We have an exceptional group of scientists here. We’ve been able to retain them. They have been sought after by many people. But, they’re ability to do good research here, research that can make a difference has allowed us to attract and retain really top talent.”

RDECOM work on microgrids in the news

 

RDECOM Electrical Engineer Marnie de Jong.

RDECOM Electrical Engineer Marnie de Jong.

Another good story highlighting the RDECOM team’s work in power and energy, the idea of which came from a story and photos originally done by one of our own people. It’s an important issue for the Army because these advances make our units more agile in choosing a site because energy is less of a consideration. It also helps keep more Soldiers focused on their work instead of on energy issues such a refueling. Most importantly, when you cut energy consumption it cuts down on the number of convoys on the road, which means Soldiers face less risk from ambushes, IEDs, etc.

This is not the command’s first recognition for such work. Another member of the RDECOM team was recognized for work on microgrids by the White House. Lt. Col. Alan Samuels, who researched the effectiveness of energy-saving “micro-grid” technology in Afghanistan, was among nine Americans honored as “Champions of Change” by the White House, April 19, 2012.

New technology holds promise of greater lethality

Engineer Chris Haines holds a cylinder composed of reactive materials.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Imagine a warhead with fragments that flare and burn when the warhead detonates.

Now imagine the potential lethality of an artillery shell made almost entirely of that stuff.

Such a theoretical weapon is one of the goals behind the research being conducted by Picatinny Arsenal engineers working at the Advanced Materials Lab.

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DoE-DA Alliance underlines achieving energy security

Maj. Gen. Nick Justice speaks with Sen. Levin

U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Commanding General Maj. Gen. Nick Justice and Sen. Levin prepare for two days of energy discussions at the AVPT workshop.

As the price of oil continues to fluctuate and the Nation searches for fuel-efficiency and an energy future independent of foreign oil, the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of the Army are collaborating to address this pressing national security issue.

The Advanced Vehicle Power and Technology Alliance aligns experts from across DoE, DA and industry to explore solutions for decreasing petroleum dependence, increasing fuel efficiency and enhancing the Nation’s energy security infrastructure. “We have the same vision,” remarked U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center Director Dr. Grace M. Bochenek. “This is a good partnership that will provide us the opportunity to share capabilities and access resources that we couldn’t alone. It will help us accelerate technology development, drive innovation, increase the value of our research investments and, at the same time, address the national energy need.”

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Media report: Army researchers seek energy savings

Energy innovations in the Armed Forces

The Army Research Laboratory is working on advanced battery research is helping reduce the number of generators and batteries that units need to take into battle.

energyNOW! reports: “The sun is a big part of the Air Force and Army’s plans for alternative fuels. In “Energy Innovations in the Armed Forces,” Correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan learns how the Air Force is using the largest solar array in the Western Hemisphere to help reach a 20 percent renewable-energy goal by 2020. Lee Patrick dons full battle gear to find out why soldiers are replacing heavy batteries and generators with smaller, lighter ones. He also takes a ride in a prototype extended range electric vehicle and unrolls a solar blanket for charging electronics in a war zone.”

“Cynthia Lundgren of the Army Research Laboratory in Maryland explains how advanced battery research is helping reduce the number of generators and batteries that units need to take into battle. Paul Skalny of the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center tells Lee Patrick how hybrid electric vehicles can give U.S. forces an advantage in the field, and how many fewer lives are put at risk with each incremental increase in fuel efficiency.”

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White House Blog: National Security and Fuels of the Future: The Importance of Sec. 526

White House Blog

White House Blog

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy at the Department of Defense Sharon E. Burke blogged about the Army’s search for fuel efficiency at the White House Blog. She features the Fuel Efficient Demonstrator Alpha developed by TARDEC researchers in Warren, Mich.

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Army, DoE to announce new alliance

Army Technology Live NEWS

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Army are set to announce a new partnership at the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Workshop July 18 in Detroit.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu along with Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph Westphal are expected to attend.

The event will bring together energy leaders from industry, academia, government focused on national security and energy efficiency.

Officials from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s tank and automotive center said the workshop is a “win-win-win scenario” for Nation, Soldiers, automotive industry.

To enhance national energy security and demonstrate Federal Government leadership in transitioning America to a low-carbon economy, the Department of Energy and the Army will announce a new charter.

The announcement comes as part of the first-ever Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Workshop. The workshop – at NextEnergy headquarters in Detroit – is bringing energy leaders from government, industry and academia together to address ground mobility challenges.

According to organizers, this new alliance provides a win-win-win scenario: it goes toward achieving the Nation’s energy security goals, benefiting Soldiers and potentially bolstering the defense and auto industries.

Media are invited to attend this invitation-only event Monday (July 18) at NextEnergy (461 Burroughs, Detroit, Michigan 48202). Details of the charter will be made public for the first time by Secretary Chu and Under Secretary Westphal.

The event starts with opening remarks and perspectives from senior leaders. Breakout sessions begin mid-morning and will address six critical areas: advanced combustion engines and transmissions; lightweight structures and materials; energy recovery and thermal management; alternative fuels and lubricants; hybrid propulsion systems including batteries; and analytical tools.

The workshop is hosted by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center  and the DoE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. TARDEC is a subordinate activity to the Research, Development and Engineering Command, which falls under the Army Materiel Command. TARDEC is also an enterprise partner in the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.

Army seeks fuel efficient future

Army seeks fuel efficient future

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Researchers from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s tank and automotive center presented a new kind of vehicle to Pentagon officials July 12.

A team from the Tank, Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren, Mich. brought the Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED) Alpha to the Pentagon courtyard to show Alan Shaffer, Principal Deputy Director, Defense Research and Engineering for the Department of Defense and Army officials a sample of the kind of work they’re doing to reduce fuel consumption on the battlefield as well as oil dependency.

The FED Program resulted from the Defense Science Board: Energy Security Task Force findings, which prompted OSD to sponsor the FED Program to address energy conservation needs.

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Army looks for energy efficiency

Army seeks net zero energy future

Army seeks net zero energy future

FORT DETRICK, Md. — Army officials met this week to discuss ways to make its installations “net zero.” Net zero is to “consume only as much energy or water as they produce and eliminate solid waste to landfills,” writes Nick Minecci, USAG Fort Detrick Public Affairs for the Army.mil website.

“A net zero waste installation reduces, reuses, and recovers waste streams, converting them to resource values with zero landfill over the course of a year,” Minecci continues. The Army continues to seek new technologies to meet its power and energy goals.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command is at the forefront of the search as it pioneers trash-to-energy conversion techniques on a tactical level that may have wider future application. The Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery metabolizes waste into ethanol and compresses undigested waste into pellets which are then converted into a composite gas. The ethanol, composite gas and a 10 percent diesel drip are injected into a diesel generator that produces electricity.

“A 500-man unit generates about 2,500 pounds of trash per day. We figured if we could convert the trash into power, we could cut down on the need to haul fuel into the operating base and cut down on the need to haul garbage out,” said James Valdes, scientific advisor for biotechnology for Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, an element of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

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