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Colorado — Eaton, in partnership with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), and the Department of Public Works at Fort Hood, Texas, demonstrated a microgrid’s ability to operate Fort Hood’s Robert Gray Army Airfield independently from the utility grid.

The effort is the result of grants Eaton received from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Eaton researchers led by Senior Principal Engineer Vijay Bhavaraju demonstrated the microgrid’s ability to seamlessly “island” itself from the grid and optimize the use of sustainable power and energy storage to minimize operation of the on-site backup generators. The generators never came on during the short demonstration.

“Eaton’s demonstration of long-term resiliency at a critical asset such as the Robert Gray Army Airfield is an important milestone for the implementation of resilient infrastructure at military installations,” said Bryan Farrens, senior manager, Government Programs, Eaton. “Air-strike training, for example, is a key mission that historically would be at-risk if there was a long-term loss of utility power. With this effort, we are proving that with intelligent controls, installations like Fort Hood across the military can rely more on sustainable resources such as solar to meet the resilience targets.”

Eaton’s microgrid controller leverages Eaton’s automatic transfer switches and recloser controller to island the Robert Gray Army Airfield from the grid. The microgrid uses the energy storage, backup generators, solar power, and uninterruptible power system to ensure the airfield continues to operate for a minimum of 14 days to meet Army Directive 2020-03 (Installation Energy and Water Resilience Policy).

Congressman John Carter, a key supporter for the program, stated, “As the representative of Ft. Hood, improving our nation’s military capabilities and readiness is a top priority. Eaton’s success with the microgrid is great news for Ft. Hood and I look forward to seeing it in action.”

Eaton’s microgrid controller manages the safety of the power system with an integrated protection system that communicates between the utility connection and the building controllers. This allows the system to minimize any downtime on an outage on the distribution line and protects the equipment and operators.

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