FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
The Army Reserve, now more than ever, continues to strengthen their sustainable strategic path while modernizing for the future. To support the Army of 2030, the Army Reserve is facilitating and supporting the adoption of new, novel, and emerging technologies through facilitating studies, pilots, and demonstrations to verify performance in Army Reserve facilities. Known as an early adopter of new technologies, the Army Reserve is partnering with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to conduct 10 active energy and water demonstrations/pilots leveraging funding through numerous partnership programs.
“Implementation of the latest and greatest technologies enable us to achieve our strategic priorities for Army Reserve infrastructure,” explained Col. Martin J. Naranjo, Director, Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate. “Our directorate has been instrumental in initiating, planning, and securing funding to further develop solutions that will increase sustainability while keeping us mission ready. We know the pilot work executed through our partnerships is driving the innovation needed for the future force.”
The 63rd Readiness Division (RD) and B.T. Collins Army Reserve Center in Sacramento, CA, were selected in 2017 to test phase change material (PCM). PCM is a substance used to add effective thermal mass in buildings due to its ability to melt and solidify at certain temperatures, providing the capability to store and release large amounts of thermal energy. The original project was co-funded by Bonneville Power Administration and has since added a second project – the creation of an HVAC testbed for testing controls systems diagnostic tools.
Three other active demonstrations are testing technologies to enhance the Army Reserve’s Enterprise Building Control System (EBCS) which provides remote monitoring, troubleshooting, and control of geographically dispersed facilities. Funded through the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), the three demonstrations are valued at nearly $4 million and are testing machine learning, real-time optimization control, and water microgrid advanced monitoring and controls. Two additional EBCS demonstrations are taking place with the 88th RD at Arden Hills U.S. Army Reserve Complex, MN to show the capabilities of additional sensors for predictive operations and maintenance (O&M) and to identify opportunities for informing O&M contracts.
Energy management staff at Fort McCoy, WI are conducting a pilot to specify, procure, install, operate, and maintain a combined heat and power turn-key system. The system’s natural gas-fired engine will generate electricity with captured waste heat being recovered for domestic hot water and/or for the building hydronic system – a system that circulates water through pipes to either heat or cool a building. In fiscal year 2023, the Army Reserve was selected to host a demonstration through the Small Business Innovation Research program to demonstrate a rapid deployment hybrid microgrid. Additionally, a recently completed water leak detection demonstration provided the Army Reserve guidance on detection and repair opportunities to ultimately increase water conservation, cost savings, infrastructure protection, O&M improvement, and indoor air quality improvement.
New technologies are evaluated through various methods at various degrees. Measurement and Verification (M&V) relies on collecting and evaluating before-and-after data. Pilots take it a step further and focus on validating performance at an initial location while analyzing above and beyond basic M&V data. Demonstrations are similar to a pilot but add additional data points to not just understand how something performs, but why and how it will perform in other locations and situations. Ultimately, a testbed is a location established with ample metering, data loggers, and/or test equipment that are used to conduct multiple demonstrations of technologies or multiple scenarios for one or more technologies.
“The results of these demonstrations and pilots are key in addressing the potential challenges we face – whether it be from manmade cyber attacks or the effects of climate change and increasing natural disasters,” said Naranjo. “Our infrastructure and critical facilities will enable our Soldiers to respond at a moment’s notice now and in the ever evolving operational environment of the future.”