Power user conference to highlight operational energy innovation
March 30, 2012
By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, PEO C3T
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (March 30, 2012) -- Supplying tactical electric power to the battlefield in a reliable, energy-efficient way is a key goal of the Department of Defense's Project Manager Mobile Electric Power (PM MEP) and the focus of an upcoming Users' Conference.
Held by PM MEP, the conference is intended to be an open forum, addressing tactical electric power (TEP) topics and solutions. The event comes as the military is increasing its efforts to cut fuel consumption, leverage alternative energy sources and improve operational energy efficiencies.
Paul Richard, deputy project manager for PM MEP, which supplies tactical electric power solutions, training and support to the different Service branches, called the conference a one-stop shop for resolving power issues for the tactical battlefield.
"For Soldiers the conference is a great place to learn about the newest equipment that's out there, and it's a chance to provide input and feedback to the organizations that develop the requirements and the systems that they'll ultimately use," said Richard.
Feedback is key, and the conference is geared towards users and meeting their needs, Richard said.
"We want Soldiers to know that if they're having problems or dealing with issues, they're not alone," he said. "Come back and talk with us and give us that feedback to help shape future requirements and generate solutions that will meet their operational needs."
Registration is already underway for the 5th Annual Power User Conference 2012, which will take place May 8-10 at the Shades of Green Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) in Orlando, Fla. The conference will explore current and future energy solutions through a series of discussions, presentations and breakout sessions, all designed to connect Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines with development and industry experts and address Service-unique issues.
Personnel representing the Combat Developer, Materiel Developer, Sustainment Commands and Headquarters offices from each service will attend to address TEP issues including requirements generation, production, fielding and sustainment of hardware.
Breakout sessions based on service feedback will provide information on a variety of TEP topics, products and users. The microgrid breakout session will look at the concept of networked generators operating under automated control, including recent test results and potential safety issues related to remote operation and starting, for both microgrid and hybrid applications. The AutoDise breakout session will teach Soldiers how to use an automated software system to help them develop power distribution grids for any operational scenario they may encounter on the battlefield.
Shrinking the military's operational energy footprint on the battlefield not only makes fiscal sense, but also saves lives, officials said. Consuming less fuel on the battlefield requires fewer supply convoys -- a frequent target for roadside bombs and enemy attacks.
"If you're an Army at war, the last thing you want to do is add to the risk that the Soldier takes," Secretary of the Army John McHugh said while on a recent visit to the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "For every 44 convoys we put on the road in Afghanistan, we lose one Soldier. Anything we can do to take a convoy off the road is a good (thing)."
PM MEP is contributing to that effort by developing and fielding the next generation of Department of Defense standard generators, known as the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Sources (AMMPS) family. These generators are 21 percent more fuel-efficient than the systems currently in theater, with greater reliability and a 10 percent reduction in size and weight. Over the next 12 months the Army expects to deploy approximately 1,600 AMMPS to Afghanistan.
"All those savings also increase the units' combat effectiveness by allowing Soldiers to dedicate more of their time to combat operations instead of support to maintain their tactical power," said Richard.
Several sizes of AMMPS will be displayed at the conference, allowing Soldiers an up-close look and an opportunity to get familiar with the new technology, which is schedule to start fielding in May with the 4th Infantry Division located at Ft. Carson, Colorado.
Other equipment on display includes solar tents, Improved Environmental Control Units (IECU), GREENS solar panel network and the Load Demand Start Stop (LDSS) microgrid system.
Over the past five years the conference has increased its focus on the Soldier and generated greater participation from all Services.
"'I think it's outstanding for the power career field," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Dinsmore, who attended the conference in 2011. "It's good to get all the branches here."
Army Chief Warrant Officer Leonardo Bereton said the 2011 user conference was "very well managed, organized and educational."
"The fact that you're dealing with different joint services (adds to) the importance," he said.
PM MEP will also use the conference to recognize outstanding power professionals from all Services. For information on award nominations, as well as the conference agenda and how to register, visit peoc3t.army.mil/mep/
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