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Next Generation Hybrid Power Technologies for 2 – 5 kW Power Systems Supporting Soldier Applications in the Multi-Domain Battlespace



OBJECTIVE: The objective of this effort is to develop and integrate a small, lightweight JP-8 fuel burning engine into a power generation system capable of providing a variable output of 2 to 5 kW of full continuous power at 4000’ 95oF. Successful execution of this effort will result in benchmark mobility (portability), reliability, and survivability characteristics critical to Soldier, unattended ground sensors (UGS), and remote system (weapons and communications) applications in support of the Soldier Lethality CFT. Successful results can also be leveraged to support power requirements for Network and Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) priorities. 

DESCRIPTION: The Army has a great need for highly power dense (< 120 lbs), variable output JP-8 fuel burning power generation systems in the < 5 kW range to enable unmanned ground sensors and Soldier systems and operate remote weapons and communication systems. However, there are numerous difficult, technical challenges with the use of heavy fuel in conventional, small engines. Since the ‘90s, the Army has pursued various solution paths to realize a versatile power source that is man-portable and operationally and functionally compatible within the tactical environment. In the less than 9 hp range, gas turbines become extremely inefficient, and IC engines have difficulty burning JP-8. Small IC engines run at high speeds and have very short “strokes” in their power producing process, making efficient diesel combustion difficult. To address issues with fuel atomization and the injection/burning process, the Army invested in two approaches. Investments focused on the development of external combustion engine concepts (such as the Stirling cycle), but at the cost of increased mass and weight and reduced power density. The Army also invested in the adaptation and scaling down in size of reformers, high pressure pumps, and atomizing nozzles to realize fuel processors that enabled the combustion of JP-8 fuel within an existing small sized gasoline engine. This came at a cost of reduced operational environments and power quality, starting difficulties, severe engine derating, and unknown potential long-term maintenance issues. This solicitation seeks 1) innovative concepts to efficiently atomize/vaporize unmodified (no additives) JP-8 fuel, per the Army’s One Fuel Forward Policy 2) engine configurations that allow for longer burn times 3) external burning concepts combined with cycles other than the Stirling cycle Note: Spark ignition and gas turbine engines are also explicitly excluded from this solicitation. The proposed variable speed engine must be fuel-efficient, power-dense, and able to readily burn unmodified heavy fuel (JP-8). 

PHASE I: This effort will include the use of a model/simulation tool to evaluate alternative electromechanical and hybrid prime mover technologies to include emerging novel rotary diesels, fuel cells, etc. which can be integrated into a system configuration to generate a variable output of 2 to 5 kW of tactical electric power for Soldier, UGS, and remote applications. The function and operation of a given prime mover will be evaluated to determine its mechanical and electrical response under various loading conditions, control inputs, and environments. The effort will yield a proof-of-concept variable output power system based on emerging engine technology selected for its operational / functional suitability within a tactical environment. Develop conceptual component, subsystem, and system-level design in accordance with the following metrics: • Fuel: JP-8, • Output: 2 – 5 kW continuous output up to 4000’, 95 F • Signature: < 70 dBA at 7 m; < 60 dBA at 0.9m • Environment: full-spectrum military environment (AR70-38 temperature extremes, MIL-STD-810 shock & vibration, sand & dust, humidity, blowing rain) • Transport: Ability to be safely transported by commercial and military vehicles and aircraft Results of Phase I shall support engine selection and its integration with optimal combinations power systems components / subsystems to realize a variable output (2-5 kW) power system design for execution in Phase II. Phase I discussions and design should include the following elements: a. Narrative and graphical depiction of the design b. Projected physical attributes (power density, energy density) c. Projected performance metrics (fuel consumption, power output, etc.) d. Identification of the Technology Readiness Level of the technology 

PHASE II: Design, develop, and demonstrate a proof-of-concept variable output (2 – 5 kW) power source based on the Phase I results and provide an interface design to support the subsequent integration/interface with Soldier, UGS, and remote weapon/communication platforms. 

PHASE III: Finalize development of a variable output 2 – 5 kW power system. Identify target markets for the system and an industry partner for production of the system. Determine feasibility of teaming with a generator set OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for development of an Advanced Technology Demonstrator. Develop partnerships with individual companies and Platform PMs (such as PM-E2S2 and PM-SWAR) for rapid fielding of results into the Small Tactical Electric Power Program (STEP) by FY25. 


1: US EPA, 2003, Proposed Tier 4 Emissions Standards, EPA Document Number EPA420-F-03-008,

KEYWORDS: Variable Output Generator Set, Man-portable Power, Soldier Lethality, Remote Weapons/communication System Power, UGS Power, Integrated Tactical Network 

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