Intelligent Power Management Module for Autonomous Power Generator Operation

Award Information
Department of Defense
Solitcitation Year:
Solicitation Number:
Award Year:
Phase I
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Small Business Information
PC Krause and Associates, Inc.
IN, West Lafayette, IN, 47906-1075
Hubzone Owned:
Woman Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Principal Investigator
 Marco Amrhein
 Senior Lead Engineer
 (765) 464-8997
Business Contact
 Marco Amrhein
Title: Senior Lead Engineer
Phone: (765) 464-8997
Research Institution
The US Army and Marines rely significantly on fossil-fuel based tactical power generation to provide electrical energy to deployed troops in small camps and forward operation bases. These generators are sized to support the expected maximum power but are often operated far below rated power due to the dynamic nature of electrical loads. On average, the generators are loaded less than 50% of the available peak power capability. Inherently, these generators have low energy conversion efficiencies when operated significantly below rated power, which equates to wasted fuel in order to provide power capacity that is unused during the majority of operation. Thus, technology innovations are needed that allow for better utilization of a generator's power capacity when said generator is online, while at the same time providing the on-demand dynamic load power desired by the attached equipment. PC Krause and Associates (PCKA) has previously demonstrated a power buffer concept that addresses mismatches between dynamic loads and generation capabilities on modern more-electric aircraft. The patent-pending power-sharing control concept is, with minor modifications, applicable to the challenges addressed by this proposal. PCKA proposes an intelligent power-management module (IPMM), consisting of an energy storage device, power electronic converters, and appropriate power-sharing controls, to act as a buffer between a tactical generator and dynamic loads. The IPMM will essentially function as an energy reservoir; charging and discharging its energy storage device as appropriate to ensure that load demands are met while driving the operation of the tactical generator into a more efficient operating regime. Due to this new loading profile seen by the generator, fuel conversion efficiency will significantly increase (estimated improvement of 25%), as the generator is either operated at full capacity or turned off. Note that the IPMM will be autonomous and non-invasive, i.e., it will not require any adjustment in existing generator controls or hardware, a desirable benefit considering the target application. The primary objective of this Phase I proposal is to develop the proof-of-concept IPMM, including the design of a hardware architecture and power-sharing control strategies. To demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed IPMM design and justify the transition from Phase I to Phase II, a combination of advanced modeling, simulation, and analysis and hardware prototyping will be utilized to demonstrate that the proposed IPMM is capable of meeting the relevant performance specifications. If successful, the IPMM technology will be demonstrated as a full-scale prototype in Phase II and ultimately transition to DoD programs under a Phase III contract.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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