Defense

July 13, 2012

Navy engineers test hybrid hydraulic technologies with heavy construction equipment

by Darrell F. Waller
Port Hueneme, Calif.

Hybrid hydraulic technologies are being tested July 9-13 by Navy and Army engineers seeking to achieve greater energy efficiencies and reduce costs among the Department of Defense’s heavy construction fleet.

The Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, is working with engineers from the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center; the 1st Naval Construction Division; the 31st Seabee Readiness Group and its Naval Construction Battalions; and private industry.

“The testing conducted this week by Navy and Army engineers is vital to achieving the Secretary of the Navy’s energy goals and setting our Armed Forces on the path of energy independence” said Naval Facilities Engineering Command Engineering Service Center Commanding Officer, Capt. Brant D. Pickrell. “Heavy construction equipment is in use by our warfighters worldwide in virtually every theater of operations. Saving energy costs makes our fighting forces more self-sufficient, helping to free them from reliance on foreign oil sources while saving money for American taxpayers.”

The Navy is seeking to determine how emerging technologies might be used to reduce fuel consumption of expeditionary construction equipment used by Seabees during deployment. Such fuel savings will support the Secretary of the Navy’s goal for tactical energy fuel reduction by 15 percent for 2020.

Testing will include the installation of a newly developed high efficiency hydraulic system on existing heavy construction equipment and measuring the energy savings compared to an earlier test. The new system, which includes digital valves, enables the backhoe to perform the same amount of work using less hydraulic power. Power requirements will be measured and compared to readings from the Phase I baseline testing to determine overall hydraulic power reduction, fuel consumption reduction and cost savings.

In addition, two hydraulic excavators will be tested to establish fuel consumption performance. A hybrid energy recovery system that is expected to significantly reduce hydraulic losses will subsequently be installed on the excavators. The system will recover and store energy from both the boom and swing drive. Future testing will be conducted to determine improved engine efficiency, fuel consumption reduction, and predicted cost savings.

The testing is being conducted at Naval Base Ventura County, Calif., which was selected for its favorable year-round climate conditions.

The outcome of Phase II testing will determine the suitability of this concept and technology for use by the Navy’s Seabees.




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