Military Embedded Systems

Tactical smartgrid proof of concept demonstrated by CERDEC


October 05, 2012

Brandon Lewis

Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

The U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering (CERDEC) Command has displayed a proof of concept for a smart grid supporting tactical operations. The data-gathering event was intended to develop solutions for the Department of Defense’s interests in reducing generators, preventing grid collapse and overloads, and a 25 percent minimization of manhours associated with fuel consumption and grid operation. To conform to these interests, a microgrid system was implemented as it is the only available solution that allows for energy storage, renewables, and other technologies that can simultaneously supplement traditional power.

The microgrid architecture used was developed in the Hybrid Intelligent Power (HI Power) program, was constructed by CP&I under and OSD-funded initiative to create a standardized tactical microgrid that optimizes generators and simultaneously reduces power generation, logistical footprint, and maintenance.

Because generators struggle to maintain efficiency when operating alone, a mix of technologies was implemented in a platform capable of utilizing smaller footprint generators that both distribute and manage power efficiently. “It's a sustainable practice that has applicability across all echelons, from the Forward Operating Base down to the Soldier. Furthermore, this is all transparent to the Soldier; the plug-and-play system has an open, user-friendly architecture that allows for greater operational flexibility," CERDEC engineer Marnie DeJong says.

The tactical micorgirds use a mix of technology to enable a fully mobile, deployable, and rugged. Proof of concept was been demonstrated at Fort Dix, N.J. This is the third such architecture that has been developed, and the second that has been demonstrated.


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