Defense

November 6, 2013

Air Force researchers demonstrate energy resiliency in mission critical environment

Energy security is critical to the Air Force’s war fighting capability.

The 2013 Air Force Energy Strategic Plan identifies priorities and goals to secure a strategic energy advantage. These include resilience, demand reduction, supply assurance, and an energy-aware culture.

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Advanced Power Technology Office is working to achieve these goals through coordinated research efforts that address energy concerns while maintaining mission readiness.

An APTO collaboration with the Air Force Space Command leverages a research, development, test and evaluation program to enhance solutions to improve the facility’s energy security.

AFSPC’s 10th Space Warning Squadron at Cavalier Air Force Station, N.D., operates and maintains one of the world’s most capable phased-array radar systems.

The Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System provides critical missile warning and space surveillance data to the Joint Space Operations Center and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. PARCS monitors and tracks more than half of all earth-orbiting objects to enable space situational awareness and control. Additionally, 10th SWS provides attack characterization data to the Secretary of Defense and the President for real time war plan execution decisions.

 

Energy reporting completed in 2012 indicated AFSPC was below the Air Force’s 2015 energy intensity goal and was trending down compared to the previous year. To meet the objectives of the 2013 Air Force Energy Strategic Plan and the mission’s operational requirements, AFSPC decided to focus on improving operational resiliency at Cavalier AFS by implementing technologies aimed at improving the installations energy efficiency.

Working together, APTO and the 10th SWS completed a site assessment concentrating on opportunities to reduce energy consumption and costs. After assessing the operational constraints of the facility, APTO recommended process energy improvements by using an Integrated Environmental Solutions Virtual Environment model to perform realistic simulations of energy improvement options and validate their performance.

Specifically, APTO concluded the best investments to bolster the AFSPC’s mission for energy reliance includes:

Installing a free cooling heat exchanger to provide waterside economizing to the space surveillance operations center

Replacing the existing cooling water pumps with variable speed pumps and controls to allow the coolant flow rate to dynamically adjust in response to radar system load

Replacing the terminal reheat coils with variable air volume controllers and installing variable frequency drives on the supply air fans to reduce the required airflow and provide VAV optimized temperature control for the missile warning system

The team also installed energy meters and data logging equipment to document the baseline of the current system configuration. After implementation of the process improvements, the energy monitoring equipment will be utilized again to quantify the impact of the improvements on the mission energy intensity and total facility energy consumption.

While these technologies are commonplace outside of the Air Force, utilizing these technologies in support of fixed, high-energy consuming critical missions, such as early warning radar, has not occurred. These improvements are predicted to reduce mission energy consumption by 14 percent, saving nearly $334,000 annually. This helps address energy priority, improving resiliency by mitigating the effects of disruption of energy availability and reducing demand.

The work at Cavalier establishes a test and evaluation regimen that informs Air Force decision-making at installations worldwide.

The APTO Program executes technology development and demonstration of alternative energy technologies on behalf of Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Energy.

APTO’s mission is to scope and develop technologies to meet user requirements, progress solutions through Technology Readiness Levels, and highlight technology transition activities for Air Force enterprise use.




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