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RESEARCH PAPERS

Energy Savings for Silent Camp™ Hybrid Technologies

[+] Author and Article Information
Franklin H. Holcomb, Joseph Bush, James L. Knight

 U.S. Army ERDC-CERL, Champaign, IL 61822

Jason Whipple

 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 4(2), 134-137 (Aug 01, 2006) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2714566 History: Received December 22, 2005; Revised August 01, 2006

In military base camp operations, the standard method of power generation is via the use of diesel generators. Unfortunately, these generators are often noisy and inefficient. Base camps could benefit from a “silent camp™” operation, in which power is supplied via low-noise, low-impact methods such as fuel cells. Base camps have a variable load profile (they use more power during peak hours than at other times), and low loading levels (their generators’ rated capacity is normally much greater than the load). Consequently, the generators only operate at peak efficiency for short, intermittent intervals. Under these conditions, the generators’ fuel use is less than optimal, they require frequent maintenance, and their life cycle is shortened. Approximately 60–70% of maintenance problems for diesel generators are directly attributable to “wetstacking,” which occurs when these generators are operated at less than 50% of their rated capacity (Commerce Business Daily, Feb. 16, 2000). One solution to address these issues is to institute a hybrid power system, consisting of: a fuel cell (with inverter), an electrolyzer, and a metal hydride storage system, all coupled and packaged with a diesel generator. This system would enable the generator to operate at peak efficiency while increasing the capabilities of the power generation system. Such a system could offer numerous benefits over the base case stand alone generator as follows: (1) the ability for Silent Camp™ operation (by using the fuel cell output exclusively); (2) potential for reduced fuel consumption; (3) reduced instances of “wetstacking,” thereby decreasing generator maintenance costs; (4) the ability to have backup power from fuel cells; (5) refueling capability for hydrogen devices or vehicles; and (6) reduced environmental impact in terms of pollutant, acoustic, and thermal emissions.

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Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Generator efficiency (20kW or greater) as a function of output percentage of generator capacity (5)

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Figure 2

Typical load profile

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Figure 3

Load profiles used for the analysis of the hybrid system

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Figure 4

Resultant load profiles for combined generator-fuel cell system

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