Hybrid Tactical Power Sytems

Ted Mansfield, Harrison Place, Dylan Smith


Conducting military operations in deployed environments currently requires large amounts of electrical power in order to operate mission essential equipment such as communication systems, radar technology, and computer networks. Aside from mission critical loads, conveniences to soldiers from environmental space conditioning to powering personal electronic devices such as coffee pots, microwaves, computers, and stereo systems consume significant amounts of energy. The particular environment we examine is an off-grid Forward Operating Base (FOB). Diesel-fuel burning generators are the primary source of power for this environment. The burdened cost of diesel fuel and risk associated with fuel transportation convoys are extremely high. Most efficient generation occurs when generators operate at 50-90% of rated capacity. However, tactical generators are often operated at 10-20% of rated capacity due to a lack of field expertise and system planning capability. These result in inefficient fuel use along with increased operating costs, maintenance requirements, and risks associated with fuel transport. The goal of this work is to design and build a prototype Hybrid Tactical Power System (HTPS) to address these issues. The HTPS achieves this in several ways: integration of dissimilar sources such as photovoltaic panels and battery hybridization decreases generator operation, reduction of load variability via load aggregation better balances generator usage, and combining automated and user power and load control to the system improves generator efficiency. Our prototype contains an automated controller, load control hardware for balancing and shedding loads, a PV source, and an emulated diesel generator via a grid interconnection. Our prototype HTPS improves generator fuel consumption and utilization by decreasing generator operation time, and improving generator load factor by automatically balancing generation over loads and incorporating demand response.


Microgrid; tactical power; diesel generation; photovoltaic power; renewable energy

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