Tag Archives: energy

Air Force debuts first plug-in electric vehicle fleet

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

The Air Force is debuting the first federal facility to replace its entire general-purpose fleet with plug-in electric vehicles Nov. 14. Miranda Ballentine, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and energy, will preside over the unveiling ceremony at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California.

This fleet will be the largest operational vehicle to grid, or V2G, demonstration in the world consisting of 42 vehicles including sedans, pick-up trucks and mini vans. The V2G technology means they can discharge power onto the utility grid to improve power quality and temporarily relieve congestion.

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Energy strategic plan: a conservation road map

by Meredith March, Defense Media Activity Air Force Production

Air Force Week kicks off in New York City

Air Force operations demand more fuel and energy than they have in the past, but in a struggling economy, leaders are obligated to stretch tax dollars as far as they will go. So, how does the Air Force resolve the two necessities without compromising training, force sustainment, humanitarian relief efforts, intelligence gathering and combat missions?

A recent Pentagon roundtable answered that question by announcing energy efficiency initiatives under the new Air Force Energy Strategic Plan. The plan is a road map for future energy consumption reductions.

“We will not accept the notion that one has to choose between energy efficiency and mission accomplishment,” said Dr. Jamie Morin, acting under secretary of the Air Force, during the meeting. “They can be complementary and reinforce the goals.”

Simplified, the four fuel-related goals mapped out in the Air Force Energy Strategic Plan include:

  • Improving resiliency: identify energy and water sources that might be vulnerable to disruptions, physical or cyber attacks, or price volatility, and ensure the Air Force can recover them and sustain the mission
  • Reducing demand: build more efficient platforms, more effectively utilize resources, and improve the range and endurance of Air Force platforms without sacrificing capability
  • Assuring supply: diversify the types of energy used for aviation and facility operations, ground vehicles and equipment, as well as secure the quantities necessary to perform Air Force missions
  • Fostering an energy aware culture: ensure Airmen value energy as a mission critical resource and make it a consideration in every action, whether in permanent or deployed environments

Airmen can read the entire Air Force Energy Strategic Plan and submit energy saving ideas on the Air Force Energy website.

Air Force Academy energy research will yield global benefits, October 18, 2012

Glass beakers

By Lt. Col. Patrick Suermann
Air Force Academy Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

“I am Air Force Energy” is more than just a catchphrase at the Air Force Academy. Those words, provided by Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Dr. Kevin Geiss as the theme for Energy Awareness Month, resonates at the Air Force Academy, whose faculty are innovating across the spectrum of academic departments to further educate and develop future leaders of character and advance energy technology.

After studying energy-related topics in two core courses, Chemistry 110 and Physics 110, cadets can take the science and technology energy systems core option or specialize in approximately 17 major’s courses from Economics to Engineering that deal with the importance of being informed energy consumers and engineers.

Dr. Darrell Pepper, a distinguished visiting professor from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas teaching in the Academy’s Engineering Mechanics Department, donated a 3-kilowatt wind turbine for study in the renewable energy course offered here. The turbine provides hands-on experience for cadets, Pepper said.

In time, Pepper said he expects the turbine will be moved outdoors so cadets can study it in a more realistic setting.

“This class, with its practical approach, will prepare our cadets to make energy-wise decisions when they are leaders in the Air Force,” said Dr. Mike Maixner, an instructor in the Engineering Mechanics Department. “The Defense Department will greatly benefit from energy-aware officers.”

Similarly, Dr. Karen Henry received a grant to install an energy foundation system and associated monitoring equipment in a lavatory facility recently constructed at the Field Engineering and Readiness Laboratory in Jacks Valley. The facility uses a geothermal approach to heating and cooling: Energy foundations combine with the structural supports for a building with a heat pump so that the foundations can be used as ground-source heat exchangers.

This provides a cost-efficient approach to conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions and reduce installation costs. Eventually, Henry will compare measured performance indicators, including construction and lifecycle costs, with those expected for conventional heating and cooling systems.

Lt. Col. Andrew Laffely, Maj. Brian Cooper and Al Mundy have established a renewable energy lab in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department with support from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The lab allows cadets to study the implementation of wind and solar energy. In the past four years, cadets have developed wind turbines, solar power systems and an electric vehicle. The team is currently integrating these technologies into a deployable vehicle system and modular microgrid that can operate without external fuel supply for the life of the battery system.

Col. Robert Kraus, the Academy’s chief scientist and director of research, and Dr. Randy Knize, the center director, highlight two projects at different levels of completion: cycloidal wave energy and silicon’s use in photovoltaic solar cells.

Academy researchers studied wave energy conversion using cycloidal turbines from September 2008 to August 2012. The project demonstrated advances in harnessing ocean waves and resulted in the foundation of a spinoff company, Atargis Energy Corporation. Atargis Energy obtained U.S. Energy Department funding to further advance their approach.

Knize also overseas Academy researchers conducting studies into black silicon. Silicon is the premier material for the conversion of solar energy directly into electrical energy. They are investigating a process that uses laser irradiation to increase silicon’s absorption, thus increasing energy conversion. Black silicon was invented at Harvard about 10 years ago; research shows it could improve the efficiency of solar cells. Knize’s research team showed that black silicon could be created with less expense using nanosecond lasers and possibly continuous-wave lasers.

The Defense Department is the largest federal energy consumer, and the Air Force is the largest energy consumer in the DOD. With this understanding, faculty members here will continue to do their part to think and act locally with research that will yield benefits globally.

Photo: Glass beakers and aluminum foil mark the beginning for different breeds of algae as part of the Life Sciences Research Center’s research into harvesting algae for biofuels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Bill Evans)

Energy-conscious military calls for energy-conscious troops

By Isabel Calamoneri
Cadet 3rd Class, AFROTC
Detachment 160, University of Georgia

In this blog post, an AFROTC cadet provides her perspective on the Army-Air Force Energy Forum that took place Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington D.C.

Winds of EnergyIn a break out session on culture change, Colonel Patrick Kumashiro, Commander, 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309 AMARG), talked about four ideas that he believes are pivotal to changing our Air Force and greater military’s mindset on smarter energy use and conservation.

First, and most importantly, we have to have the right people. We need people who are informed about modern conservation technologies; we need people who are eager to move forward toward a greener force, and we need people who know people (especially rich ones). If we can create a network of resources, the attitude and almost as important, the funds needed to create this change should begin to provide a solid foundation off which to build when shaping a new, more energy-conscious military.

The second factor Col Kumashiro discussed was the importance of instilling policy that encourages or even demands greener standards of operation. Standards cannot be enforced and maintained until they have been established.

Another key player in our efforts to change the culture is education. If we lack men and women who are informed about modern conservation technologies, we lack the resources needed to develop new systems. Beyond employing scholars who focus on conservation, we need to educate Service members in ways in which they can conserve energy in their day-to-day lives. If we can instill good habits on the most basic levels (turning off lights when leaving a room, not running the water when brushing teeth, etc), we can begin to change the way people think about energy use.

Finally, we must consider from where we are receiving the funds to make tangible changes to the actual assets that we are using every day. With limited funding, it is especially important that we allocate as much money and time as is available toward making changes to the buildings, appliances, and tools that we use every day.

So, what does this mean to me? How, as an AFROTC cadet, can I apply these ideas to my little role in our military? Well, I would say that being at a big school like the University of Georgia allows me to network with all different kinds of people. I can start to make those connections with students who are going into contracting and renewable energy research and production. I can take a class or two on the importance of energy conservation and encourage my peers to do the same– awareness is the first step. While I have little control over “policy,” I can establish rules with my roommates/hallmates/housemates to be careful about leaving lights, TVs, and radios on when they leave the room; to unplug hair dryers and phone and computer chargers when not in use; to turn off the water when brushing teeth and not to run the shower until they are ready to get in it.

Additionally, I could ask that we do our best to make similar changes at the detachment in order to get cadets in the right mindset before they become officers and begin living off of the Air Force’s budget. While these changes are small, they can make a big difference in energy consumption over the years. Furthermore, if these habits are passed on to future generations and future roommates/hallmates/housemates, the breadth of culture change will begin to expand throughout the country, even beyond the military.

Photo: Two of the three wind turbines at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. face the wind coming across the high plains and push against the clouds that later dropped a few inches of snow on the base and surrounding city of Cheyenne on April 6, 2010. The larger wind turbine (right) was completed and online early in 2009 and is rated at 2 mega watts of electrical energy that goes directly into the base power grid. The other two produces a combined output of 1.3MW. From most points on the base the wind turbines can be seen. At its base, the blades make a low whoosh sound. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lance Cheung)

USAF Moving Forward with Energy Conservation

By Jeffrey Braun, Chief, USAF Alternative Fuels Certification Divisions

Wildly fluctuating fuel prices and the push by more and more Americans to “be green” are constant reminders of an underlying energy crisis we face here in America and around the world.  As the federal government’s largest consumer of energy, the USAF is actively pursuing numerous initiatives designed to address these growing areas of concern. These initiatives are summarized by the three pillars of the Air Force Energy Policy – “Reduce Consumption,” “Increase Supply,” and “Change the Culture.”

While individual Airmen can’t necessarily control the amount of fuel we require for our aircraft and support systems to conduct the mission, we can all do our part to ensure we conserve energy (fuel) in other ways. From something as simple as turning off unnecessary lighting, to the implementation of more efficient mission planning or integration of improved fuel saving engine/aircraft designs, every Airman can have an impact on the size of the USAF’s “petroleum footprint.”

In the area of “Increase Supply,” the USAF has embarked on an initiative to develop and evaluate renewable and environmentally friendly alternative fuels for integration into unrestricted flight operations. To date, testing of these “green” fuels has been very successful. Not only will these bio-fuel blends provide the USAF with a pathway to ultimately reduce the amount of petroleum it currently requires (and decrease our current greenhouse gas footprint), but they will also enhance national security by allowing for the production of fuels domestically, thus enabling the US to become less reliant on oil imported from overseas.

The USAF is leading change. Through its commitment to energy conservation and exploration of cleaner, renewable sources of fuel that can be produced domestically, the USAF is shaping the way we meet our future energy needs. What are you doing to conserve energy?

PHOTO: October is Energy Awareness Month. Ramstein’s 86th Civil Engineer Squadron encourages Airmen that work and live on base to conserve energy at all possible times. There are several steps you can take to be more efficient with energy, such as turning off computer moniters after the work day. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Ciara M. Travis)