Capacity optimization of battery-generator hybrid power system: Toward minimizing maintenance cost in expeditionary basecamp/operational energy applications

Jude C Onwuanumkpe, Purdue University


Low and transient load condition are known to have deleterious impact on the efficiency and health of diesel generators (DGs). Extensive operation under such loads reduces fuel consumption and energy conversion efficiency, and contribute to diesel engine degradation, damage, or catastrophic failure. Non-ideal loads are prevalent in expeditionary base camps that support contingency operations in austere environments or remote locations where grid electricity is either non-existent or inaccessible. The impact of such loads on DGs exacerbates already overburdened basecamp energy logistics requirements. There is a need, therefore, to eliminate or prevent the occurrence of non-ideal loads. Although advances in diesel engine technologies have improved their performance, DGs remain vulnerable to the consequences of non-ideal loads and inherent inefficiencies of combustion. The mechanisms through which DGs respond to and mitigate non-ideal loads are also mechanically stressful and energy-intensive. Thus, this research investigated the idea of using batteries to prevent DGs from encountering non-ideal loads, as a way to reduce basecamp energy logistics requirements. Using a simple semi-empirical approach, the study modeled and simulated a battery-DG hybrid system under various load conditions. The simulation allowed for synthesis of design space in which specified battery and generator capacity can achieve optimal savings in fuel consumption and maintenance cost. Results show that a right-sized battery-diesel generator system allows for more than 50% cost savings relative to a standalone generator.




Dietz, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering|Mechanical engineering|Energy

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