The United States Army Corps of Engineers awarded a team including the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) a $7 million contract to demonstrate the use of electric vehicles with diesel generators and solar arrays for supplying emergency power. The demonstration project will take place at Fort Carson, Colorado.
The team is led by Burns and McDonnell Engineering Company, which is based in Kansas City, and will construct a microgrid out of existing electrical infrastructure at the Army post, integrating a 2-megawatt solar panel array, diesel generator sets (this just means diesel generators), and electric vehicles to provide a self-contained, energy sustainable capability during power supply interruptions.
This project is called the SPIDERS (Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security) program.
“The goal for the SwRI portion of this 18-month effort is to demonstrate the ability of electric vehicles to serve as energy storage devices in support of a microgrid and provide grid ancillary services, such as peak shaving and demand response, during non-microgrid operation,” said Sean Mitchem, SwRI project manager and a principal analyst in SwRI’s Automation and Data Systems Division.
“Unique challenges of this project include using electric vehicles to absorb excess generated power from the base’s photovoltaic array and reduce the base’s energy bill by integrating vehicle energy storage into the energy management strategy, all the while continuing to serve as an active part of the base vehicle fleet,” said co-researcher Joe Redfield, a principal engineer in SwRI’s Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division.
“This project will be one of the first large-scale demonstrations of the new Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard-based DC fast-charge technology,” Redfield said. “As such, we expect to provide input to SAE for future fine-tuning of the standard.”
The use of electric vehicles to store energy from the electricity grid and back it up when electricity demand spikes has been proposed in the past. This is because electric vehicles have very large energy storage systems (usually batteries).
A Nissan Leaf, for example is equipped with a 24 kWh battery pack. This means it can provide 1,000 watts of power for 24 hours.
Another reason for this program is national security. Generating electricity at the Army base, while minimizing petroleum imports from the Middle East, is an important national security need.
Note that this isn’t the Army’s first solar project. In fact, there are multiple others. Solar power seems to be a key focus of the U.S. military these days.
Source: Business Wire
Photo Credit: U.S. Army Environmental Command
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...