Bringing Energy to the Tactical Edge in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan
The U.S. Army’s “Energy to the Tactical Edge” effort (E2E) kicked off in 2011 to reduce troop reliance on fuel resupply operations by curtailing use of or entirely replacing conventional diesel generators.
This effort was inspired not only to contain costs, with the full burdened cost of fuel including air transport, parachute drops and more estimated at $400/gallon, but more importantly to save lives. U.S. forces sustained one casualty for every 24 fuel resupply convoys in Afghanistan with, an average of 170 U.S. service members killed or wounded each year securing fuel convoys. Forward Operating Bases were also routinely cut off from power.
Working with SimpliPhi and ZeroBase, the Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) began deploying ruggedized three, five and 10 kW portable Forge solar+storage kits to forward positions. Equipped with two highly efficient PHI batteries and a solar panel, Forge kits met the weight limit for two-man carry, and could be daisy-chained together to increase capacity and power. Plus, they delivered stealth electricity with no heat, no pollution and no noise.
Forge were used to reliably power aid stations, remote weapons stations, mobile kitchens, surveillance towers, housing units and more. As a result, fuel consumption was reduced, fewer personnel were dedicated to fueling and maintaining generators, and dangerous fuel convoys were required less often.