Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Renewable Energy at Guantanamo Naval Base

Standing 275-foot tall, with blades spanning 177 feet, the Navy's four new 3-blade wind turbines are among the most noticeable features at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Each of the four turbines will generate 950 kilowatts (kw) of electricity. Together, the four turbines will generate 3,800 kw, and in years of typical weather the wind turbines will produce almost 8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. They will reduce the consumption of 650,000 gallons of diesel fuel, reduce air pollution by 26 tons of sulfur dioxide and 15 tons of nitrous oxide, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13 million pounds each year.
The new wind turbines will provide as much as 25% of the base's power generation during the high-wind months of late summer, and are expected to save taxpayers $1.2 million in annual energy costs. The project began in July 2004 and cost nearly $12 million. Construction of the wind energy project was made possible through a partnership between the Navy and NORESCO of Westborough, MA as part of an energy savings performance contract (ESPC).

Here is what I am wondering, if four turbines provide 25% of the bases energy in good wind conditions. Then wouldn't 16 wind turbines provide 100% power to the base in good wind conditions?

"Before the wind turbines, Guantanamo Bay spent $31,000 a day -- $24 a minute -- on diesel fuel to run generators around the clock to produce electricity. Since the turbines went into operation about six weeks ago, they have been providing between 5 and 12 percent of the power the base uses.
Johnston noted that spring is the "slack-wind period" and that the turbines would be able to produce more power by July."

With 16 turbines, the slack wind period energy for the base would theoretically increase to around 50 %. This would result in substantial energy savings. With say 24 wind turbines in operation it would increase theoretically to 75% in the slack wind period. Another renewable energy source for the base would be solar power. Its a very hot and sunny climate in Guantanamo bay. With enough efficient solar panels they could get the renewable power generation capacity up to 100 percent of the bases energy needs.

Now the interesting part comes when you think of the high wind period beginging in july. Twenty four wind turbines, plus solar power would be more then enough energy in the high wind periods. I now elude to my other post about renewable energy.

Pending research, my idea was for the military to use electric powered light utility vehicles for tasks around military bases. The excess of energy could be used to lend power to electric charging stations for light utility vehicles.

Any other excess of energy could be potentialy stored in energy banks.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Interesting bio-fuel idea for the Army

A so-called “tactical bio-refinery” is another mobile system being pursued to convert field waste to energy. The system, which is built by Defense Life Sciences, McLean, Va., will convert paper, plastic, cardboard and food slop into bio-fuel gas to power a 60 kilowatt generator, Nolan said. The food waste goes into a bioreactor, where industrial yeast ferments it into ethanol, a “green fuel,” according to Purdue University, whose scientists are working with Defense Life Sciences. As an added benefit, the system helps to eliminate much of the waste on the battlefield.
The bio-refinery can save 115 gallons of fuel for every ton of waste converted, Nolan said. The first prototype has already been built and the full system will be ready for demonstration within 12 months, said Jerry Warner, founder of Defense Life Sciences.
On this project, the REF worked with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Under a separate effort, DARPA is developing a mobile integrated sustainable energy system, or MISER. The idea is to take packaging materials — not garbage — from the field and convert them to generator fuel, which could eventually be used in a fuel cell.
Packaging materials account for a large amount of field waste — more than seven pounds per day per soldier. DARPA aims to reduce the cost and logistical burden of disposing the plastic packaging by harvesting it for energy.
The high-energy content of the plastic packaging — close to that of diesel fuel — makes it an ideal alternative energy source. “At today’s level of packaging being discarded, a military unit could achieve well over 100 percent self-sufficiency for its generator fuel needs,” according to a DARPA document.

What I find more interesting is not the bio-fuels use for generator capacity. But its potential use as a fuel for military vehicles. I think we have a great idea for renewable power generators, with SkyBuilts idea. The mobile power station, which looks like a train container with solar cells and wind turbines.

All in all though, i'm glad the military is looking into alternatives.