Defense and Disaster Deployable Turbine (D3T)

When conflicts and natural disasters unfold around the world and military or civil humanitarian response is needed, quick access to energy on location is critical to ensuring a successful mission or crisis response. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Defense and Disaster Deployable Turbine (D3T) project is evaluating the market potential for rapidly deployable wind energy technologies, developing wind turbine design requirements for operational applications, and assessing commercially available wind technologies against operational design requirements to help identify technology gaps and research and development opportunities. The project team is led by Sandia in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory.

Download the Project Fact Sheet.

2022 Defense and Disaster Deployable Turbine Virtual Workshop

The Defense and Disaster Deployable Turbine (D3T) project team held a virtual workshop for stakeholders on June 17, 2022.

Download the Virtual Workshop Summary.

2022 Torque Conference Poster and Paper

The D3T team was pleased to present findings at the 2022 Torque Conference in Delft, NL.

Download the Design Guidelines for Deployable Wind Turbines for Defense and Disaster Response Missions Poster.

Download the Design Guidelines for Deployable Wind Turbines for Defense and Disaster Response Missions Journal Article.

Market Potential for Deployable Wind Turbines

The D3T project began by surveying and characterizing the potential market for a deployable wind turbine to address energy needs for defense and disaster response applications. Based on public documents, presentations at topical conferences, and direct interviews with both military and industry stakeholders, the report includes:

  1. A summary of the U.S. Department of Defense operational energy strategy, setting the context for alternatives to diesel fuel to meet its energy needs
  2. An estimate of the energy use of the military in missions where a deployable turbine could potentially serve as an alternative to the baseline use of diesel fuel in generators to provide electricity in remote locations
  3. An overview of domestic and international disaster response, with a focus on the role of the military in providing energy to those operations
  4. The technical considerations that would enable a deployable turbine to optimally meet military and disaster response energy needs, considering the global wind resource, the technical design of the turbine, and the operational constraints of various military missions

Download the Deployable Turbine Market Assessment Report.

Benefits of Deployable Wind Turbines

The project team has used various modeling and analysis methods and tools to explore the possible benefits of deployable wind turbines to defense and disaster response applications. Scenarios explore a range of possible wind resources, mission duration, wind turbine designs, and energy demands to calculate and compare relevant performance metrics. One common goal for military missions is to reduce the reliance on risky diesel fuel supply lines to power small generators. Our initial analysis of a network of forward operating bases shows that deployable wind turbines were able to reduce diesel fuel use between 22% and 83% and reduce the number of required fuel convoy trucks between 5% and 26% over a 30-day mission.

Read more in the report.

A follow-up analysis considered deployable wind turbines as part of a hybrid power system that included also photovoltaics (PV), batteries, and diesel generators. The results indicated that Wind-PV hybrid systems generally outperform either wind or PV systems only, especially in situations with a relatively high nighttime load and where the wind and solar resources are complementary through the day or seasonally. A wind-PV hybrid power system designed to meet 100% of the critical loads at a representative forward operating base were also shown to meet 35% of the overall energy needs of the base thus providing both a resilience value and diesel fuel reduction benefit. Airborne wind systems show promise as a newer technology that could be a particularly good fit for rapidly deployable energy systems that could operate in a wide range of environments potentially producing more energy than ground-based systems of wind or PV.

Read more in the report.

Design Guidelines for Deployable Wind Energy Systems

A major goal of this project was to develop guidance that was lacking on the design and operation of deployable wind systems that provide maximum value to missions in defense and disaster relief. Common characteristics of these missions are shorter planning and execution time horizons and a global scope of potential locations. Compared to conventional wind turbine applications, defense and disaster response applications place a premium on rapid shipping and installation, short-duration operation (days to months), and quick teardown upon mission completion. Furthermore, defense and disaster response applications are less driven by cost of energy than conventional wind turbine applications. These factors impart design drivers that depart from the features found in conventional distributed wind turbines, thus necessitating unique design guidance. The supporting information for this guidance comes from available relevant references, technical analyses, and input from industry and military stakeholders. This document is not intended to be a comprehensive, prescriptive design specification. This document is intended to serve as a written record of an ongoing discussion of stakeholders about the best currently available design guidance for deployable wind turbines to help facilitate the effective development and acquisition of technology solutions to support mission success.

Download the Deployable Wind Energy Design Guidelines.

Technology Development and Demonstration

The final objective of this project is to facilitate the development and demonstration of deployable wind turbine systems by industry to meet the needs of defense and disaster response customers. Information and feedback gathered directly from military and industry stakeholders, technical analyses, and other reference documents were compiled into the Deployable Wind Turbine Design Guidelines to provide a common reference for defense customers and industry solution providers to more efficiently define, develop and deploy effective technologies. Building off the design guidelines, the project team is developing a more detailed deployable turbine performance specification template that can be adapted to a specific procurement opportunity.

Brent C. Houchens