High-Tech Resources to Debut at Army's New Laboratory
U.S. ARMY DETROIT ARSENAL, WARREN, Mich. – When the U.S. Army opens the new Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory (GSPEL) on April 11, officials will proudly unveil 30,000 square feet of research space, eight distinct state-of-the-art labs and one of the world’s largest environmental testing chambers capable of testing equipment in temperatures ranging from a frosty minus 60°F to a blistering 160°F.
The GSPEL – a comprehensive addition to the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center’s (TARDEC) laboratory system at the Detroit Arsenal – offers numerous testing capabilities and an unmatched combination of resources in a single lab, according to TARDEC Interim Director Jennifer Hitchcock.
GSPEL gives the Army overarching, full-spectrum testing and evaluation capabilities,” she said. “The Army’s best and brightest ground systems research scientists, engineers and technicians will work in this unique facility to drive innovation for tomorrow’s energy solutions.”
Two GSPEL labs back up that point: the Power and Energy Vehicle Environmental Lab (PEVEL) and the Calorimeter Lab.
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PEVEL is GSPEL’s centerpiece and features one of the world’s largest environmental chambers. The lab enables testing at temperatures from minus 60°F to 160°F, in relative humidity levels from 0 to 95 percent and with winds up to 60 mph. The lab’s dynamometer and environmental chamber combination allows full mission profile testing of every ground vehicle platform in the military inventory in any environmental condition.
Calorimeters are commonly used in vehicle testing facilities to measure the heat of chemical reactions, physical changes and heat capacity. However, the GSPEL's Calorimeter Lab is the world’s largest and enables researchers to test radiators, charge-air coolers and oil coolers individually, or all three simultaneously.
Other GSPEL labs, each with advanced capabilities, are Air Filtration, Thermal Management, Power, Fuel Cell, Hybrid Electric Components and Energy Storage.
GSPEL offers shared access to industry and academia to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas to develop emerging energy technologies and validate ground vehicle systems – research that could also help the Nation achieve energy security goals.
While closed to the public, the grand opening ceremony is expected to draw top government, industry and academic leaders – many of whom are or may soon be GSPEL’s collaborative partners.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
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Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly