Ideal Power & Enerdel Team on Mobile Military Microgrid & News from MIT, AutoGrid & Total

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Mobile military microgrid keeps convoys off dangerous roads

Ideal Power and Enerdel have teamed up on energy storage for a mobile military microgrid.

The system is designed to reduce the need for diesel generators at remote bases. Military convoys sometimes must traverse hostile territory to deliver the diesel.

Researchers in the Air Force Research Laboratory and the University of Dayton Research Institute recently launched the joint year-long demonstration of the hybrid solar-plus-storage system.

Enerdel selected Ideal Power’s Grid Resilient Multi-port 30-kW Power Conversion System (30B3) for the project. EnerDel’s Mobile Hybrid Power System (MHPS) integrates the 30B3 with an 8-kW tent-mounted solar array to form a portable microgrid.

The mobile military microgrid has been undergoing rigorous testing for the past seven months and could eventually be deployed at Air Force locations across the globe, according to the companies. A project has been successfully operating at the 319th Training Squadron’s Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. It is currently powering lights and air conditioning systems for the living quarters of 10 forward operating bases.

“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.

He noted that conventional solar PV installations can supply power only 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.”

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An inside look at MIT’s microgrid

MIT, which has been operating a sophisticated microgrid since 1995, will offer a tour of its facility on October 7, led by facilities engineer Seth Kinderman

MIT now generates about 60 percent of its own electricity with much of the generation by a gas-fired plant. At the same time, MIT alums and students are developing new technology to help manage microgrids. Recently, Heila IQ won two prestigious CleanTech awards for its distributed controllers. The company is piloting its controllers at a vineyard in California’s Sonoma County, where it integrates gas generators and hundreds of solar panels connected to multiple types of batteries.

More details are available at MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge.

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Tops states for cutting carbon with CHP and other industrial efficiency

Texas ranks number one among the states for capability to cut carbon dioxide emissions through industrial energy efficiency, according to a new report by the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency.

The report focuses on the carbon-cutting abilities of energy efficiency, combined heat and power (often found in microgrids) and waste heat to power technologies. The alliance prepared the report to help policymakers, industrials, utilities, and others as states position to reduce carbon emissions.

Texas was followed in the ranking by Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Michigan, California, Georgia and Alabama.


Total invests in Autogrid

The venture capital arm of global energy giant Total has acquired an interest in AutoGrid, a company that develops digital solutions to manage and optimize electric supply.

Total joins others E.ON, Envision Energy and Energy Impact Partners (Xcel Energy, Ameren, Southern Company, National Grid and Great Plains Energy), which invested $20 million in AutoGrid in May.

Total and AutoGrid did not disclose the size of Total’s stake.

Founded in 2011, California-based AutoGrid offers an internet platform to balance supply and demand for distributed energy resources, identify and prevent problems and optimize equipment consumption. Customers include utilities and equipment manufacturers.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.