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AF partners with Army, industry to successfully develop, test vehicle-to-grid technology

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Defense Department’s first all-electric, nontactical vehicle fleet successfully completed its final vehicle-to-grid certification testing at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, Oct. 15.

The test was conducted by the California Independent System Operator and Southern California Edison, and highlights a milestone in the Air Force’s plug-in electric vehicle -- the V2G project.

The project determined whether a PEV fleet could be capable of both receiving and providing power to the electrical grid and successfully operate without negatively impacting the Air Force’s mission. The V2G technology works through a PEV’s battery that, when connected to a charging station, uses a bi-directional flow of power to either draw energy from the utility grid, or discharge energy back to the grid when the utility needs the extra power.

“The test marks a breakthrough in emerging technology because it allows for the PEVs to not only offer a clean-fuel alternative for our vehicle fleet, but also serve as resources to the electrical grid when they’re not being driven,” said Dr. Camron Gorguinpour, the Air Force’s director of transformational innovation and project administrator.

“Now that CAISO and Southern California Edison conducted the certification testing, we anticipate the Los Angeles Air Force Base PEV fleet entering the utility grid’s ancillary service marketplace by year’s end,” he added.

The PEV fleet providing the V2G technology includes both electric and hybrid vehicles ranging from sedans, trucks to a 12-passenger van. The V2G technology will enable the installation to earn credit for power discharged to the grid that could be used to offset their energy costs, as well as enhance grid reliability and power security. The Los Angeles AFB PEVs will be able to provide more than 500 kilowatts of power to the grid -- enough to power 50 homes for 3 1/2 hours.

The Air Force partnered with the Army, industry, academia, and state organizations to develop the cutting-edge technology used in the PEVs, charging stations and software programs required to generate the V2G bi-directional flow of power.

“This demonstration will help the Air Force understand the capabilities and lifecycle costs of PEVs as they are integrated into the service’s fleet,” Gorguinpour said. “The lessons learned here will help us as we expand our pilot program to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland; Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the Army’s Fort Hood, Texas.”

Miranda Ballentine, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, said this is an exciting step forward in how the Air Force contributes to the advancement of clean energy technology.

“Vehicle-to-grid technology is another example of the Air Force and Army partnering to find innovative ways to improve our energy resiliency, optimize our energy usage and assure we have a continuous energy supply to meet our mission,” she said. “It also showcases the commitment of our federal and state partners, who worked together to leverage this technology and push the envelope in using all the tools at our disposal to improve our energy security.”

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