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Harvestable Energy System for Use in Covered Locations


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes


ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PM Combat Support Systems (CSS), PdM Expeditionary Power Systems (EPS)


OBJECTIVE: Develop innovative approaches to enable a Marine unit to harvest energy in locations that are covered with low direct-light levels and low wind levels.


DESCRIPTION: Logistics resupply of power, both fuel and batteries, is a major burden on a Marine Company and can limit their desired operations. The USMC Expeditionary Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan (Ref. 1) states an ultimate goal of eliminating liquid fuel needs except for mobility platforms by 2025. Several renewable energy efforts are underway to get the Marine Corps closer to this goal (Ref. 2); however, most of these efforts are focused on technologies that are most efficient in open sunny locations. With the Marine Corps push to the Pacific and locations where terrain will consist of denser foliage areas, the more standard solar and wind technologies will not be as effective. There is a need for technology that can harvest energy in covered locations which would reduce the Marines total logistical burden of fuel and batteries. Currently all fielded renewable energy systems require open uncovered locations for deployment. Systems such as wind and solar do not perform well near or under covered locations such as in forests or jungles. Known harvesting technology that can be used in covered locations such as waste-to-energy technology is currently too bulky, time consuming to initiate and unreliable for small units of Marines. Other efforts have been looked at such as micro-hydro turbines, hand crank generators, and biomass energy converters. All of these systems have had deficiencies in ether size, weight, operational area limitation, or ease of deployment, making them currently unsuitable for wide use. The Marine Corps deploys in a variety of environments and needs advanced technology that will allow for harvesting of available energy in locations that are covered (Ref. 3).

The Marine Corps is interested in innovative approaches in the development of renewable expeditionary energy systems. Proposed concepts must be able to operate in temperature ranges of -20°F to 125°F in rain, dust, salt conditions and survive transit over rough terrain (Ref. 4). Proposed concept systems must be light and compact allowing a small number of Marines to carry and deploy the system. The objective for an individual component is no more than a 2 person lift (88lbs). To limit deployment area and overall weight, the proposed concepts should be scalable and have energy densities greater than 25W/ft^2 and 5W/lbs. Proposed concepts should have minimal start up time (< 10 minutes for 2 people) allowing the Marines to rapidly set-up and start powering their equipment. It is anticipated that successfully developed energy harvesting concepts would be used in conjunction with the USMC renewable energy and hybrid systems. Therefore, proposed concepts will be required to have either a nominal 24V output which is fairly stable (MIL-STD-1275F) or a 120V AC output (MIL-STD-1332B) (Ref. 5,6).


PHASE I: Develop concepts for harvesting energy in covered locations that meet the requirements described above. The small business will demonstrate the feasibility of the concepts in meeting Marine Corps needs and will establish that the concepts can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Analytical modeling and simulation may be used to demonstrate feasibility. The small business will also articulate a plan for Phase II development that identifies performance goals, key technical milestones, and, as appropriate, any technical risk reduction strategy(ies).


PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II development plan, develop and deliver a prototype system for government evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II SOW and the Marine Corps requirements for renewable energy systems. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and over the required range of parameters as discussed in the Description above. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into a final design. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Marine Corps use.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: If Phase II is successful, the small business will be expected to support the Marine Corps in transitioning the technology for Marine Corps use. The small business will develop a plan to determine the effectiveness of the renewable energy system in an operationally relevant environment. The small business will support the Marine Corps for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Marine Corps use. As applicable, the small business will prepare manufacturing plans and develop manufacturing capabilities to produce the product for military and commercial markets.


KEYWORDS: Renewable energy; energy harvesting; expeditionary energy; expeditionary power; energy strategy

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