EDF-2021-ENERENV-D-EEMC: Energy independent and efficient systems for military camps
Despite a constant improvement of their energy efficiency, a growing energy consumption of weapon systems and of their logistic footprint has been observed. This is mainly due to the number of the vehicles, the huge requirements in mobility of force, the on-board electronic system, the soldier connected devices and equipment and more globally, the digitalisation of the battlefield. This increase in energy consumption should be achieved by means of new production such as renewable energies, hybrid powertrains or energy production, batteries and fuel cells. However, these new forms of consumption pose a challenge for their integration in weapon systems, for their technological development and for their logistics operational management. These multiple changes will lead to structural evolution regarding operational energy.
Nowadays, Forces mainly depend on fossil fuels to achieve their mission. This is even truer during operations. However, the question of the security of supply in future years faces two challenges:
- Strategic issues linked to the access to resources;
- The climate emergency context, which requires the implementation of energy transition measures.
Part of the answer will come from the exploration and development of disruptive and new energy sources (synthetic fuels, hybridization, hydrogen, etc.), as well as the study of solutions allowing better management of resources and optimization of needs.
From an operational point of view, an autonomous military camp will integrate a wide energy source approach, with several different technological bricks (fuel cells, batteries, synthetic fuels small refinery, hybrid electric generator, deployable solar panel, etc.). From an industrial point of view, the collaboration between the partner Nations and the implementation of industrial standards would allow the creation of a European market for sustainable energy systems in defence applications and a better interoperability between allies engaged on the same theatre of operation.
The energy transition is an operational asset making it possible to be more efficient, aim at a better autonomy and strengthening the resilience of forces. It could also bring tactical benefits like the reduction of noise, thermal and electromagnetic signature.
The specific challenges of the topic reside in:
- The need to reduce fossil fuel dependency in military deployable camps (support and mobility) without any drop of operational performances.
- The need to have a sustainable energy defence model with technical as well as operational standards agreed by European Nations (for overseas deployable field camp: energy requirement, different energies and tools needed or authorized to fulfil the mission).
- The need to optimize the involvement of Nations by considering all the studies, works and research carried out or ongoing within the framework of defence.
- The need to study the feasibility of different technologies to answer to the identified needs of the Member States ensuring the interoperability of systems and by taking into consideration opportunities such as autonomy or resilience, but also the constraints such as cybersecurity.
- Particularly the need to study projects involving hydrogen.
- The need to study all the issues of disruptive energies logistics: delivery, storage, distribution involving large quantities (particularly concerning hydrogen logistic).
- The adaptation for military requirements of already existing civilian equipment, as they will be used in specific climatic and operational conditions.
- The development of an operational simulation and planning system.
The proposal must address:
- Benchmarking of the current industrial existing solutions and identifying the possible needs and constraints for adapting civilian products to the military operational conditions.
- Benchmarking of the past and ongoing defence studies, research, and multinational military working groups’ results, which represents a substantial work base.
- Identification of the needs of the European Armies especially in an interoperable context for all types of energies including electrical network.
- Study and implementation of technological solutions in order to allow the forces to reduce fossil fuel dependency in military deployable camps by integrating the logistics and financial aspect, and collateral benefits (for example, hydrogen fuel cells will produce water that could be used by human in extreme condition and in sensitive environments).
- Study of the capacity to produce, transport, store, distribute and use hydrogen or hydrogen based synthetic fuels in military context and to power supply in fields operations.
- Study on risk assessment (vulnerability, detections of such systems, how easy are to be replaced, possible collateral damage in case of destruction).
- Study Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the camp’s energy management system that hinder cyberattacks.
This action is a first step and the outputs could be used to set-up in a second stage a full-scale operational demonstrator of a deployable camp fulfilling interoperability between inter-allied armies and NATO, with a modular and easily deployable energy system and adaptable energy mix.
The proposal must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding possible upstream and downstream activities eligible for development actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:
- Studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions.
The proposal must pay particular attention to the other R&D and dual-use on-going initiatives at Union level to avoid unnecessary duplication. The project should be as short as possible (typically two years) for allowing soon the building of the full-scaled operational demonstrator.
- Feasibility studies including an inventory and a state of the art of the finished or on- going projects and demonstrations of different technologies and emerging technologies in the military sector to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
- Architecture/topology study of the electrical power network taking into account the needs and the constraints of camps:
- Camp power grid optimal architecture from economic, environmental and technological point of view.
- Guarantee resilience, ensuring an adequate level of cyber protection, monitoring and incident management.
- AI based optimal planning and control of camp power grid, AI based self- organizing power supply solution (i.e. microgrids) formed by mobile energy storages, distributed generators and electric vehicles.
- Modular approach aimed at managing and monitoring the microgrid, in terms of load balancing, blackout prevention and control, microgrid components fault detection and prediction, and sustainable maintenance strategy.
- Study of a global energy military ecosystem including production, logistic and final uses (for example, in operational condition of a complete hydrogen chain, which includes production or transportation and filling center, containers dedicated to hydrogen logistics and generator of electricity from hydrogen).
- Study of the reliability and security of these systems (hydrogen/synthetic fuels, smart grid, microgrids, self-healing power systems, etc.) in order to validate the feasibility of deploying these types of solutions in operations areas (emergency energy use and auxiliary or primary power unit).
Work on standardization:
- Establishment of European standards and specifications, which could be part of an EU standardization of deployable field camp.
An assessment of the procurement methodology:
- Assessment of the procurement methodology to buy the systems by the MS taking in to account the economic scale effect.
A planning tool:
- Studies for a tool to predict and simulate energy production / consumption for longer period of time and determinate the most efficient solutions (if possible implementing advanced algorithms of machine learning, artificial intelligence, etc.) through the virtualisation of the energy consumption and production.
Training and Documentation:
- The use of new technologies in the context of military application, must also consider how the armed force will adapt to it. This will require a training and documentation well adapted to the specificity of the armed force.