US Navy experiments with DC Microgrid technology

In a recent press release the Office of Naval Research announced its partnership with Chiang Mai Rajabhat University in developing a DC microgrid to power the “World Green City”, which will benefit the University and Asia Pacific region by creating decentralized power supplies and help the US Navy continue its goals toward being more energy efficient implementing more renewable energies.

"The World Green City provides an opportunity to evaluate and understand the implementation of renewable energy technologies in a real-world microgrid," Carlin said. "Such microgrids make possible sustainable, decentralized power systems that are applicable to many communities, especially remote communities, as well as forward-deployed naval operational bases. Our partnership with Chiang Mai Rajabhat University will benefit communities in Thailand and ultimately communities across the Asia Pacific region."

The development of the “World Green City” and the implementation of a DC Microgrid will another test of the viability of the microgrid in the wake of disaster and for communities that do not have the ability to produce their own electricity and could help move microgrids further into the mainstream.

Research in this area could lead to smaller, portable DC power plants that can be set up quickly for use during emergencies, without the need for fossil fuels. Such systems could find use in various naval applications.

"It's ideal for a small rural village and also island communities," said Capt. Paul Marshall, interim associate director for Power and Energy for ONR Global and project officer from the ONR Reserve Component. "If you have a community living on an island disconnected from the main power grid, they need to be able to produce their own power, which can be managed by having a microgrid on the island. In a way, it's analogous to a ship at sea. Some of these technologies being researched could someday be used in naval applications."

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