ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (May 11, 2015) -- The Army tested its base camp power and energy technologies during a demonstration on Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, April 13-24.
The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, also known as CERDEC, assembled, monitored, managed and demonstrated its Energy Informed Operations, or EIO, microgrid. The EIO system was designed with an open architecture to allow power resources to easily plug in and play into the grid.
"Increased capabilities, for the Soldier, have caused energy demands on the battlefield to increase," said Marnie Bailey, CERDEC Command, Power and Integration Directorate, or CP&I, EIO team lead. "Energy Informed Operations aims to provide the Soldier the ability to interactively monitor and manage power systems in order to optimize power availability, allowing the unit to maintain mission critical systems needed to achieve mission success."
The EIO microgrid was demonstrated as part of the Sustainability Logistics Basing - Science Technology Objective Demonstration, or SLB STO-D, hosted by the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center and the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence.
The SLB STO-D team presented nine integrated technology and non-materiel solution sets in a collaborative effort to reduce fuel resupply by 25 percent, reduce water resupply by 75 percent, and decrease waste generation for back haul by 50 percent while maintaining current quality of life. The objective is to do this at 50 to 1,000 personnel expeditionary base camps.
"This demonstration and assessment of new base camp technologies are very important for the Army and the joint warfighter. These nine technologies are critical to the objectives of reducing the fuel, water and waste water removal requirements of expeditionary base camps, which will reduce the need for re-supply and reduce the risk to our warfighters conducting re-supply operations," said Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command commanding general.
The EIO team's microgrid supported 24-hour operations for Soldiers housed in the Barracks Hut during the night and in field exercises during the day.
"A battlefield environment, based on energy informed operations, will enable our forces to be more agile, more efficient and more able to rapidly adapt to any mission conditions. This will result in increases in lethality, survivability and mission effectiveness," Bailey said. "CP&I is strategically postured to add value in the power management space for the Army as its core competencies of power, mission command and integration provide the personnel and skill sets needed to attack problems where those capabilities merge."
The EIO microgrid responded and adapted to changes in power demands created because of the operational activities during the demonstration.
"During early morning activities, there were instances where power demand reached 90 percent of a generator's capacity," said Garret Clarke, CERDEC CP&I engineer. "To compensate for the demand, the microgrid turned on a second generator and shared the loads between two generators."
In addition to monitoring and managing the EIO grid, the EIO team demonstrated the microgrid hardware and software to the Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of Army installations, energy and environment, and other Army leadership.
The demonstration concentrated not just only on the capabilities of the grid, but also displayed the EIO user application, which provides the user with a simple to use dashboard interface to easily monitor the status of the grid and troubleshoot issues, Bailey said.
This was the second of three initial experiments planned as part of the SLB STO-D initial phase of experiments, with the third scheduled for July.
"The results and feedback obtained from this event will improve the EIO hardware and software functionalities to better meet the needs of the Soldier, as well as prepare the team for upcoming field demonstrations," Clarke said.
The EIO team plans to demonstrate increased capabilities in the upcoming demonstrations, including intelligent load shedding of environmental control units, or ECUs, and user-defined prioritization of loads.
The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness--technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection and sustainment--to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.