New NATO scientific project to reduce energy consumption of deployable camps

  • 02 Oct. 2018 -
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  • Last updated: 05 Oct. 2018 10:22

NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme is supporting a new multinational project to help reduce the fossil fuel dependency by identifying and addressing wasteful energy consumption in deployable military camps.

When responding to security threats and crises, NATO Allies and partner countries must be able to deploy their forces rapidly and effectively. This includes the setting up of multinational military camps that need to be flexible in size, ranging from a small forward operating base to a base camp comparable to the size of a small town. Today, these camps are heavily dependent on fossil fuel, rendering them vulnerable to energy shortages and risking the lives of soldiers in protecting fuel supplies.  

Saving energy, but also lives

Experiments recently conducted in model camps by several countries demonstrated that, depending on the climatic conditions, the energy management as well as the use of renewable energy technologies (such as photovoltaic panels) and innovative storage capabilities could save up to 50–80 per cent of fuel. In practice, this means that at least every second fuel convoy could become unnecessary, effectively saving lives.

Achieving energy efficiency in deployed camps goes beyond just reducing energy consumption,” said Dr Judith Bossé, Director General of Natural Resources Canada, CanmetENERGY Research Centre in Varennes, the lead institution of the project. “It also contributes to reducing the number of convoy escorts, which means that fewer combat-ready troops are needed for fuel transport support and that less fuel must be transported across ecologically sensitive areas.”

Developing monitoring kits

The SPS project “Camp Energy Efficiency” launched on 18 September 2018 in Canada, will allow Allies and partners to monitor the power production and energy consumption in their camps in a fast and efficient way. This project will develop interoperable monitoring kits for camps deployed in various climatic regions and will collect energy data, in order to gain a common understanding of camp energy flows and consumptions. The first generation of the universal energy monitoring kits will be handed over to the core team during the SPS co-funded conference and exhibition “Innovative Energy Solutions for Military Applications” (IESMA) to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania on 14-15 November 2018.

The project is led by Canada and a core team of engineering experts from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. Other countries and organisations, such as France, Denmark and NATO’s Centres of Excellence on energy security and military engineering, as well as Allied Command Operations, have joined this initiative.