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A ‘made for military’ microgrid will power frontline airforce bases

The United States Airforce goes solar


A leading Lithium-Ion battery manufacturer and energy systems integrator has teamed up with Ideal Power Incorporated, a developer of innovative power conversion technologies to create a hybrid, solar battery and storage system for the United States Air Force.

The system is intended to reduce the amount of diesel fuel used to power operating bases. The year-long programme was recently launched by researchers in the Air Force working in conjunction with the University of Dayton Research Institute. The researchers are working on technologies to aid in powering remote military structures and installations that are located in hostile areas, and dependent on the delivery of diesel fuel via convoy.

Advanced energy storage systems


The battery manufacturer, Enerdel, expressed excitement at the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of their fourth generation advanced energy storage and conversion system. Derrick Buck, Director at EnerDel, says the collaboration between these two organisations will allow for the successful commissioning of a Mobile Hybrid Power System.

“We look forward to expanding our partnership with Ideal Power and continuing the future development of our military/microgrid portfolio,” he said. The multi-port 30kW Power Conversion System by Ideal was selected by EnerDel, who then integrated their Mobile Hybrid Power System (MHPS) with an 8kW tent-mounted solar array in order to create a mobile microgrid.

Improving base resiliency


The integrated system will meet the needs of the US Air Force, laid out in their Energy Strategic plan which seeks to improve the resiliency of their FOBs and reduce dependence on diesel-powered generators and fuel deliveries.

Currently the project has had success with powering lights and air-conditioning systems in living quarters at the 319th Training Squadron’s Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training camp, otherwise known as the (BEAST) facility. The microgrid may soon be deployed at Air Force locations around the world, though at present is still undergoing rigorous testing.

A reliable off grid power supply


Some solar PV installations only supply power if the utility grid is running. However, this integrated system will supply power from solar PV panels in a system independent of the utility grid. The goal being to guarantee the supply of electricity from batteries or solar sources in the absence of utility power.

Ideal’s Power Grid Resilient 30B3 system offers an efficient solution. It is operational in hostile and remote geographical locations and will enable optimised performance for various applications. The system is ideal for military microgrid applications and will help reduce overall installation costs due to its reduced size and weight.

Bill Alexander, CTO at Ideal Power notes  the history of successful commercial applications coming out of the military. He sees this installation as a great example of the type of project that can lead to penetration of the large military and microgrid markets in addition to broader applications in commercial settings.


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