By Summer BarkleyJune 7, 2012
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan--Lt. Col. Alan C. Samuels was named a "Champion of Change" by the White House on Apr. 19 in recognition of his work while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Samuels was the director of Research, Development and Engineering Command's Field Assistance in Science and Technology Center during his deployment. The facility is located at the 401st Army Field Support Brigade and provides an embedded engineering capability to develop rapid engineering solutions for operational requirements and coordinate materiel solutions with units, the 401st and the Assistant Secretary of the Army/Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology community.
He was recognized as a "champion of change" for his work with the Afghan Micro-grid Project, which was led by Project Manager Mobile Electric Power, the military's procurement and support agency for electric power generation on tactical battlefields. The micro-grid project resulted in a 17 percent reduction in fuel consumption according to Samuels. The project's other impacts were more efficient usage of generators and reduction of the number of fuel convoys required to provide fuel to distribution points across the area of operations.
The micro-grid project is part of the Energy Initiative Proving Ground, funded by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs to provide real usage statistics in actual conditions Samuels said
Samuels was also involved with a second project, an energy efficient base camp that has been set up at Bagram Airfield for some of the Soldiers of Task Force Muleskinner. The energy efficient base camp is funded by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment and is designed to look at savings at an aggregate level for both energy and water.
To the casual observer, the energy efficient base camp doesn't look much different from other base camps. It consists mainly of green or tan-colored tents, generators, fuel bladders, and LSS (latrine, shower and shave) systems.
The green tents are basic Army Force Provider tents said Donald E. Jones, RFAST-C executive officer. These basic tents are the control tents and have no energy efficiency modifications. Monitoring the energy consumption of these tents will provide the baseline against which measurements taken from the energy-efficient tents will be compared.
Both sets of tan tents have improved environmental control units, insulated tent liners and energy efficient LED lighting said Gregory S. Dogum, RFAST-C power and energy expert. These tents are also using shower water reuse systems can treat up to 12,000 gallons of water per day and return 75 percent of it for reuse. The main difference is the use of solar shades over one set of tents.
"Some FOBs [forward operating bases] are not near accessible water supplies and have to be constantly resupplied," said Dogum. "If the SWRS is used to its fullest capacity, the Army could realize a potential saving of millions of dollars per unit each year."
Sensors in all the tents measure energy consumption. RFAST-C is assisting with data collection by providing data logging. Data is submitted to U. S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity and Project Manager Force Sustainment Systems. The proving ground at Bagram Airfield is similar in set-up to the PM FSS Base Camp Systems Integration Laboratory at Fort Devens, Mass. The main differences, according to Jones, are the true day-to-day use of the tents by Soldiers engaged in real-world missions, the weather and altitude conditions at the TF Muleskinner site and the fully-burdened cost of fuel.
"You can't make good decisions with bad data," said Jones.