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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.

Studies:

  • 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.
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EDF-2021-ENERENV-R-NGES: Next generation electrical energy storage for military forward operation bases

Electrical power for Forward Operating Bases has been produced mainly by diesel gensets for decades. Gensets have been seen as a reliable, stable and easy to deploy power source for FOBs and other deployable infrastructure for decades. Nevertheless, a combined momentum for increase of energy consumption during operations, reduction of GHG emissions, concerns about logistical routes safety in long-term international operations and the increase of cost and difficulty of access to fossil fuels lead to a required change of future electrical power supply in FOBs. Considering the technological trends in the energy sector, future FOBs will probably require the use of smart grids combining diesel generators with renewables supported by storage systems.

The specific challenge of this topic is to assess the current energy storage systems that are developed for civil use and that might be used at a military level. Nevertheless, several factors as lack of European leadership in the technologies, scarcity of resources and geopolitical issues are leading to a European strategy to develop alternative technologies to achieve more sustainable, safer and cost-efficient energy storage systems. In addition, a supplementary effort on these alternative technologies should be made to assure that they are adapted to a deployable, more severe military environment subject to different geographical locations, weather and climate conditions (including extreme environments).

The proposal must address the development of an application-oriented analysis, including a draft guideline recommendation for novel energy storage technologies is safer and usable for military deployments in forward operation bases; and achieve validation in relevant environment.

Additionally, a set of military requirements (including but not limited to application specific duty-cycles, loading cycles, storage and tactical and environmental conditions) must be collected, aligned and analysed to derive design targets for future energy storage system(s). The proposal will comprehend both components and system integration analysis.

These requirements will then be transferred into a guideline recommendation for the energy storage systems and their integration to be used as a basis for the creation of standards and requirement specifications for procurement procedures. An evaluation of the availability of different energy storage alternatives within the industry and from reliable sources must be made. Additionally, tests of a representative application-specific energy storage system will be carried out for validation of these requirements with the aim to create a European platform for the implementation of these systems.

The proposals 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 design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.

The proposals must address in particular the following objectives:

Studies:

  • Analysis of civil-developing novel energy storage technologies and their suitability for deployable, stationary-use applications as FOBs.
  • Compilation of specific military requirements for energy storage systems from Member States including the energy and power densities, low maintenance and cost comparison.
  • Review safety requirements, military interoperability issues and operational aspects.
  • Assess European research, development and industrial capabilities on this area to fulfil future military needs.

Design:
“Based on the requirements derived from the feasibility study, and in compliance with them”

  • Design of a functional technological demonstrator based on the novel energy storage technologies identified, both at component and system level.
  • Building of the technology demonstrator to de-risk suitable energy storage technologies and their combinations in hybrid systems to achieve functional requirements, including development of advanced software and hardware for power and energy storage management (like Battery management system –BMS) and validation in relevant environment.
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EDF-2021-ENERENV-D-PES: Alternative propulsion and energy systems for next generation air combat systems

High value equipment integration in military air platforms contribute drastically to aerial system improvement and innovation. They are key for the European technological sovereignty and strategic autonomy.

Among them sub and supersonic propulsion combined with on-board energy management, within an optimized thrust and power integrated system, will significantly contribute to improve European Air power and to guarantee European aerial superiority.

The specific challenges of the topic reside in the on-board energy systems coming mainly from the conversion of fuel energy by the engine into propulsion, power, compressed air, etc. With the expected increase of power consumption of new airborne equipment (weapons, detection, communication, etc.), a global management of energy available on board should now be considered, at a system level, optimizing together propulsive and non-propulsive energies of military platforms (from generation to transport, storage and use). The efficiency of energy use could be greatly improved, as well as the ecological footprint of Defence systems.

To guarantee a full European technological sovereignty of military air platforms, new technology building blocks of next generation of propulsion and energy integrated systems will be evaluated on a dedicated European Propulsion and Energy ground test platform.

Some of these technologies could also be jointly developed and evaluated on the test platform developed within the frame of this project. Depending on the new technology to be developed and evaluated, one or several demonstrators could be used. Such demonstrators could be for instance engines from several types of aerial platforms: from helicopter engines for new materials evaluation, to fighters’ engines for new equipment evaluation.

This platform, open to joint technology development activities, would also be an opportunity for Europe to enhance cross border collaboration between large industrial groups, SME and academics.

The proposals 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.

Studies: For that purpose, a ground test platform, compatible with the evaluation and/or development of at least the following technology building blocks, must be studied and assessed when relevant:

  • Advanced fuels (low emission, deoxygenated, etc.).
  • Improved energy generation (propulsive and non-propulsive) technologies to meet increasing electrical demand, including power density considerations.
  • Improved energy storage technologies (to answer, for example, to the specific needs of airborne directed energy weapons).
  • Improved energy distribution technologies, including different network topologies and protection devices (especially for secured communication between local modules and main control system), distributed control system electronics (smart sensors), power electronics (also new semiconductors SiC / GaN) and buffer and interim storage devices (batteries, super capacitors).
  • Heat/thermal Management technologies with Integrated Power & Thermal Management (including next generation of heat exchanger).
  • Instrumentation (development of the test means necessary for the evaluation of next generation of propulsion and energy integrated systems).
  • Improved propulsion component technologies (e.g. bladed rings, nozzle flap, etc.).
  • New families of materials technologies compatible with requirements for next generation of engines with improved propulsion and energy management efficiency (high temperature materials, capable of operating temperatures within one of these three ranges: 100-400°C, 400-1000°C, and above 1000 °C).

Some evaluations of technologies (see examples listed above) could be jointly performed through this project to identify the relevant ones for maturity upgrading or to support their manufacturing and application processes.

Those evaluations could lead to the development of one or several propulsion and energy ground demonstrators, depending on the type of technology to be evaluated and related demonstrations executions.

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