DARPA releases RFP for renewable energy generation program for forward-operating bases

ARLINGTON, Va., 29 April 2011. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., is asking industry for proposals on developing a renewable energy power-distribution system from traditional and renewable energy sources for forward operating bases as part of the Deployed Energy Storage (DES) program. DARPA has released a broad agency announcement (DARPA-BAA-11-53) for the DES program, and hosted industry day briefings this past Wednesday.

The DARPA DES program seeks to provide a forward-deployed military power-distribution system to give military personnel access to an uninterrupted military reserve energy supply, even with power interruptions lasting for days, or with long periods of reduced energy supplies. The idea is to reduce the amount of fuel necessary for generating power at forward operating bases.

The program's goal is to provide uninterruptible power for forward operating bases during short-term power fluctuations lasting from milliseconds to hours, as well as during long-term power fluctuations lasting from hours to days. Power from solar panels, for example, could be disrupted by a cloud passing in front of the sun, the sun setting, or a storm lasting for several days. Wind power, similarly, can stop when the wind stops blowing.

DARPA officials are interested in a DES system composed of short-term energy storage, long-term energy storage, and integrating the power storage with microgrid technology. The intent is to make maximum use of renewable energy sources. Components of the system must work together to provide intelligent load sharing among several different storage and generation technologies.

The system at full charge will be able to provide an average load of uninterrupted power of 150-kilowatts for nine days with 90 percent reduction, and 30 days with a 30 percent reduction in power from renewable power generation. Companies chosen to participate in the DES program must demonstrate a 100-to-150-kilowatt average load system for 30 days.

Goals of the DES program include improving the short-term energy supply of energy-storage devices; scale up short-term energy devices to megawatt-hour scale; improve the efficiency of long-term energy storage devices; and improve intelligent control distribution of electrical power -- particularly to capitalize in existing developments in intelligent microgrid technology.

Those interested in submitting proposals should respond no later than 6 June 2011. Submit questions or concerns by e-mail at DARPA-BAA-11-53@darpa.mil, or by post to DARPA/STO, ATTN: DARPA-BAA-11-53, 3701 North Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22203-1714.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/DARPA-BAA-11-53/listing.html.

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