Ideal Power, the University of Dayton Research Institute & EnerDel team up for solar+storage microgrid at U.S. Air Force

Ideal Power, a developer of innovative power conversion technologies, and EnerDel, a  lithium-ion battery manufacturer and energy system integrator, have teamed up to create a mobile hybrid solar plus battery energy storage system for the United States Air Force aimed at reducing the diesel fuel used to power forward operating bases (FOB).

Researchers in the Air Force Research Laboratory and the University of Dayton Research Institute recently launched the joint year-long program where they are demonstrating technologies capable of powering remote military installations that normally depend on the regular delivery of diesel fuel via convoy, often in hostile locations.

EnerDel is very excited to demonstrate our fourth generation advanced energy storage and conversion technology at an Air Force operated training facility,” said Derrick Buck, Engineering Director at EnerDel. “The collaboration of the Ideal Power and EnerDel teams allowed for the successful commissioning of our Mobile Hybrid Power System with Ideal Power’s power conversion systems. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Ideal Power and continuing the future development of our military/microgrid product portfolio.”

Enerdel selected Ideal Power’s Grid Resilient Multi-port 30kW Power Conversion System (30B3) for this project. EnerDel’s Mobile Hybrid Power System (MHPS) integrates the 30B3 with an 8kW tent-mounted solar array to form a portable microgrid. The project supports the U.S. Air Force’s Energy Strategic Plan, which seeks to improve the resiliency of their FOBs and reduce dependence on diesel-powered generators. The project has been successfully operating at the 319th Training Squadron’s Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training (BEAST) facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and is currently powering lights and air conditioning systems for ten FOB living quarters. The microgrid has been undergoing rigorous testing for the past seven months and could eventually be deployed at Air Force locations across the globe.

There is a history of successful commercial applications coming out of the military. This installation is a great example of the type of project that can lead to penetration of the large military and microgrid markets in addition to broad applications in a commercial setting,” said Bill Alexander, CTO at Ideal Power. “Ordinary solar PV installations can only supply power while the utility grid is up and running. This system supplies power from solar PV independent of the utility grid and points the way towards microgrid-ready solar PV which will supply electricity — with or without utility power — and allow facilities to continue powered operations from battery and/or solar PV after loss of utility power.”

Ideal Power’s Grid Resilient 30B3 PCS is based on its patented, industry-leading Power Packet Switching Architecture (PPSA) which offers customers a proven, compact, high-efficiency solution for energy storage systems. Ideal Power’s systems are software configurable, allowing them to operate in 50Hz or 60Hz environments, maximizing the ease of deployment in different geographical markets and providing the flexibility to optimize performance for many energy applications. The significant reduction in the size and weight of Ideal Power systems results in dramatically lower installation costs and is ideal for military microgrid applications.