A new solar-powered energy distribution system is being tested near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, Calif., by Marines of Bravo Battery 1-10, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Uriel Avendano)
To increase the daily productivity of missions in remote locations and decrease the warfighters dependence on traditional energy sources, the Corps has developed the first generation of Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network Systems (GREENS).
This solar-powered energy distribution system is being tested near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma on the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, Calif., by Marines of Bravo Battery 1-10, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. as a part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course
Instead of using a fuel-powered generator or motor, these Marines are setting up photo-voltaic solar panels to provide the sustained energy needed to fire artillery down range.
The GREENS components, working in conjunction with one another, deliver a continuous and reliable power source to Marines in the field.
The concept of this particular renewable technology dates as far back as 2006, but didn’t get a jump start until 2009.
“2009 was when the expeditionary energy and strategic implementation plan was first conceived and developed. 2010 was when the expeditionary energy office stood up under the direct guidance of the commandant. We’ve been doing expeditionary energy and evaluation ever since,” said Maj. Anthony McNair, requirements and technologies team member for the USMC Expeditionary Energy Office Headquarters.
The MSP photovoltaic prototype, fitted to a standard USMC issue backpack, includes a 10.5-inch x 15.5-inch solar panel able to generate more than 11 Watts under 1-sun air mass (AM) of 1.5 illumination. (Photo by U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)
Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Electronics Science and Technology Division are working to help the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) reduce expeditionary energy supply needs and risks and increase the effectiveness of forward deployed forces.
“One of the most significant challenges currently facing the Marine Corps is the need to supply sufficient electricity to individual Marines in forward operating bases,” said Robert Walters, head, NRL Solid State Devices Branch. “Mobile photovoltaics are a technology that can address these needs by leveraging emerging, flexible, high efficiency photovoltaic technology.”
The military’s need to reduce both fuel and battery resupply is a real time requirement for increasing combat effectiveness and decreasing vulnerability. The overarching objective of the USMC Expeditionary Energy Strategy is to increase operational energy efficiency on the battlefield through the combination of on-installation alternative energy production and energy demand reduction.
This subsequently is projected to reduce fuel consumed, per Marine, per day, by 50 percent and reduce total weight of batteries carried by nearly 200 thousand pounds.