Optimal Power Management of Vehicle Sourced Military Outposts

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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


This paper considers optimal power management during the establishment of an expeditionary outpost using battery and vehicle assets for electrical generation. The first step in creating a new outpost is implementing the physical protection and barrier system. Afterwards, facilities that provide communications, fires, meals, and moral boosts are implemented that steadily increase the electrical load while dynamic events, such as patrols, can cause abrupt changes in the electrical load profile. Being able to create a fully functioning outpost within 72 hours is a typical objective where the electrical power generation starts with batteries, transitions to gasoline generators and is eventually replaced by diesel generators as the outpost matures. Vehicles with power export capability are an attractive supplement to this electrical power evolution since they are usually on site, would reduce the amount of material for outpost creation, and provide a modular approach to outpost build-up. Military vehicles have the attributes of a microgrid and when connected produce a scalable power generation capability [1]. For example, each vehicle could power a subset of the outpost’s build-up and when connected form a networked microgrid topology. However, vehicles must be available to disconnect dynamically for mobility-centric mission requirements. When this happens, there will likely be a shortage of electrical power requiring prioritized load shedding. Alternatively, excess generation will occur at times motivating an optimal solution to efficiently utilize the generation assets and minimize fuel consumption. An optimal, power management and control scheme is described using a notional 72-hour outpost evolution scenario to illustrate the approach. Particular attention is given to competing objectives such as minimizing fuel consumption while maintaining portable battery state-of-charge for equipment used during patrols. Using an optimal power flow and power coordination controller, vehicle centric microgrid architectures were constructed and simulated. For the uninterrupted outpost construction, the scheduled generation and storage were sufficient to supply all prioritized loads. Conversely, for the interrupted outpost construction, vehicle availability dictated which prioritized loads could be satisfied when unexpected power deficits arise.

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© 2017 SAE International. All Rights Reserved. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.4271/2017-01-0271

Publication Title

SAE International Journal of Commercial Vehicles