NATO Tests Smart Energy and Microgrid Tech in Poland

June 15, 2019 by Scott McMahan

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) tested new energy-saving technologies in Poland during Exercise Capable Logistician 2019 (June 3-13 2019).

The new technologies are intended to make NATO allied militaries more energy efficient, reduce their reliance on fossil fuels in the field, and improve interoperability among national armed forces. Combined with linked national activities, the exercise included about 3,450 troops from 30 nations, and participants tested some 1,000 pieces of equipment.

In the above image, French Airforce personnel unfolded photovoltaic solar panels connected to a "green-to-grid" portable trailer that can be deployed rapidly at the NATO Smart Energy Training and Assessment Camp (SETAC), at the Drawsko Pomorskie training area in Poland.

NATO's Capable Logistician 2019 exercise demonstrated smart energy technologies with the potential to reduce fuel waste and enhance operational effectiveness. Some of the tested technologies were modern diesel generators, hybrid power generating units, photovoltaic panels, insulated tents, energy-efficient air-conditioning, and LED lights. The exercise tested the technology in various scenarios including power cuts, diesel contamination, and pollution of primary water sources. Each test scenario demanded a smart energy response.

"We had two major break-through successes at Capable Logistician 2019," said Dr Susanne Michaelis, Energy Security Officer at NATO. "First, the energy data that Canada collected with a universal energy monitoring kit was crucial for advising other logistic units on how they can reduce their fuel consumption. An example is the water production unit that could save up to 60% fuel, while still purifying the same amount of water. Second, the US and Italy succeeded in building a smart micro-grid for supplying energy to camp tents by connecting their hybrid power sources via an interoperable software that powers-up diesel generators only when needed. Using the Canadian energy monitoring kits, we measured a 90% fuel reduction compared to powering the tents 24/7 with diesel generators only," she said.

NATO says that the lessons learned during Capable Logistician 2019 will be a basis for future improvements its policies and standards.