Ideal Power, EnerDel Outfit Mobile Air Force Unit

Ideal Power, a developer of power conversion technologies, and EnerDel, a lithium-ion battery manufacturer and energy system integrator, are working with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the University of Dayton Research Institute to demonstrate technology capable of powering remote military installations.

“EnerDel is very excited to demonstrate our fourth generation advanced energy storage and conversion technology at an Air Force operated training facility,” said Derrick Buck, engineering director at EnerDel. “The collaboration of our teams allowed for the successful commissioning of our Mobile Hybrid Power System with Ideal Power’s power conversion systems. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Ideal Power and continuing the future development of our military/microgrid product portfolio.”

EnerDel selected Ideal Power’s Grid Resilient Multi-port 30kW Power Conversion System (30B3) for this project. EnerDel’s Mobile Hybrid Power System (MHPS) integrates the 30B3 with an 8kW tent-mounted solar array to form a portable microgrid. The project supports the U.S. Air Force’s Energy Strategic Plan, which seeks to improve the resiliency of their forward operating bases (FOBs) and reduce dependence on diesel-powered generators. The project has been successfully operating at the 319th Training Squadron’s Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training (BEAST) facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and is currently powering lights and air conditioning systems for ten FOB living quarters. The microgrid has been undergoing testing for the past seven months and could eventually be deployed at Air Force locations across the globe.

The University of Dayton Research Institute’s (UDRI) specializes in the research, development, application and transition of technology in diverse fields, including materials, structures, energy, propulsion, manufacturing, sensors, intelligence and more. Its materials research effort is the third largest in the nation among universities, and its engineering research ranks second in Ohio, the organization says.

Among other solar initiatives, AFRL, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Ohio, in conjunction with the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies, is exploring microgrid and alternative fuel technologies in an effort to move military operations toward a greater degree of energy independence.

Under the terms of a recently-signed five-year, $20 million cooperative agreement, AFRL will manage and facilitate a microgrid demonstration project at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.  When complete, the project is expected to enable the Hawaii Air National Guard base to function independently of the power grid for extended periods of time.

The project incorporates a number of energy-harvesting and storage technologies, including hydrogen vehicles and equipment, waste energy usage, wind power harvesting, and solar panels. It builds upon a previous cooperative agreement with AFRL that established advanced hydrogen production, and hydrogen-powered vehicles and equipment at the base.

According to AFRL program manager Kevin Spitzer, initial design and integration efforts at the base are currently underway, and AFRL personnel are working in conjunction with Kansas City-based contractors Burns and McDonnell to identify and quantify project requirements.