NREL Teams Up with Navy to Cut Energy Use

NavyThe US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Navy have teamed up to meet various energy goals.

Specifically, the two agencies are looking for solutions to meet the Navy’s energy goals, which include: evaluating energy efficiency and use when awarding Navy contracts for systems and buildings; increasing alternative energy use on shore by producing at least 50 percent of shore-based energy from alternative sources; ensuring that 50 percent of Navy and Marine Corps installations become net-zero energy.

The NREL-Navy partnership began in August 2011 as part of a $20-million project focused on improving energy security.

The project is expected to last two and a half years and will be carried out in three phases.

During the first phase of the partnership, NREL worked to identify what technologies would help meet Navy energy goals, along with the best locations to demonstrate them. The Navy specified that at least one demo must happen on Hawaii and another on Guam. In the end, eight technologies were chosen for demonstration with roughly half at each location. Technologies being installed fall into three general categories: advanced HVAC, building efficiency, and advanced renewables and facility integration. The technologies are now being installed and studied to see which are viable. The final phase will be to report on the technologies and help transition them to other sites and the commercial market.

The Department of Defense accounts for 80 percent of federal energy use, and it spent $19.4 billion on energy in 2011, NREL says. NREL is currently focused on helping slash the 21 percent of DoD energy costs that are spent to operate DoD installations around the world.

In February, Southern Research Institute finalized plans to demonstrate an Organic Rankine Cycle generator at the US Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center, Mobile Utilities Support Equipment Division in Port Hueneme, Calif. The generator could produce up to 624 gross MWh of electricity in a year using waste heat and deliver a new source of energy to remote military installations. Technicians at the MUSE facility will initially operate the generator, which produces electricity using low-grade waste heat, and then deploy it as part of a remote DoD field operation. Data will be collected and analyzed by Southern Research engineers and technicians.

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