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Ultra-lightweight and Compact Hybrid System


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes


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


OBJECTIVE: Develop a renewable energy hybrid system in the 1kW power range that will reduce the weight and volume by 50% compared to the currently deployed 1kW systems.


DESCRIPTION: During Operation Enduring Freedom, fuel and water accounted for seventy percent of the logistics required to sustain Marine Corps and Army expeditionary forces ashore. A Marine infantry company today uses more fuel than an entire infantry battalion did merely a decade ago. This increase in the demand for “liquid logistics” places a significant risk and strain on the distribution pipeline and increases the overall weight of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF). A 2010 study found Marine and Army units in Afghanistan average one casualty for every 50 fuel and water convoys. The demand for fuel, batteries, and bottled water places more Marines on the road and has become the soft underbelly of our forces. To counter this logistical problem the USMC started several initiatives in renewable hybrid systems to reduce fuel consumption on the battle field with an ultimate goal of eliminating liquid fuel needs, except for mobility platforms, by 2025 (USMC Expeditionary Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan). One of these initiatives was the establishment of the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network System (GREENS) II Program to incorporate current renewable technologies that will provide only limited weight and volume savings for the current deployed systems. More significant weight and volume reductions are needed to increase the deployment options for these systems. Rethinking the construct of renewable hybrid systems may be necessary to achieve this goal.

For these reasons, the Marine Corps seeks the development of technology that can reduce the weight and volume of current deployed renewable hybrid systems. For renewable energy systems to be effective in tactical environments they must be able to reliably provide power no matter the environmental or transportation conditions (MIL-STD- 810G, (Ref 1). Because of this many of the available renewable systems are required to be hybridized type systems that use energy storage, power management and backup power generation from generators and vehicles. Current state of the art in Marine Corps tactical renewable energy systems in the 1kW sustained power range is GREENS. This system has a total weight of around 700lbs and volume around 44ft^3 once all the components are considered (renewable energy, power electronics, inverter, energy storage, cabling and power manager). Unfortunately, force structures in the 1kW power range are small tactical units, platoons (43 Marines) and squads (13 Marines) with only human lift capabilities (MIL-STD-1472G, (Ref 2)) making the current systems useful in limited scenarios. If these systems can see a reduction in weight and volume by at least 50%, then the adoption of these types of systems can be increased greatly. These reductions can potentially be found in the renewable energy technology, electronics technology, packaging technology, and energy storage technology or by completely rethinking the construct of what a hybrid energy harvesting system consist of. To support USMC applications a nominal 24V output (MIL-STD-1275D, Ref 3) or a 120V AC output (MIL-STD-1332B, Ref 4) is required. Proposed system concepts must also be able to provide power both night and day.


PHASE I: The small business will develop concepts for an improved ultra-light weight and compact hybrid system that meets the requirements described in the Description 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. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. The small business will also provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals, key technical milestones, and a technical risk reduction strategy.


PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II SOW, the small business will develop and deliver to a renewable energy hybrid system prototype 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 hybrid 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 Ultra-lightweight and Compact Energy Hybrid System for Marine Corps use. The small business will develop a plan to determine the effectiveness of the new hybrid 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. If applicable, the small business will prepare manufacturing plans and develop manufacturing capabilities to produce the product for military and commercial markets.


KEYWORDS: Hybrid; renewable energy; remote power; light-weight packaging, light-weight electronics; highenergy density batteries

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