Power Transmission Using High Voltage DC to Decrease Infrastructure Burden 2012-01-2237
Although important, decreasing soldier burden does not begin and end with energy density and fuel consumption. Power transmission is a heavy endeavor at low voltage. For a typical Army squad or platoon's electronic devices' operating voltages of 12 or 24/28Vdc, distributing one kilowatt (kW) of power means that the high amperages require sets of cable up to an inch in diameter and weighing nearly one pound per foot. More than 10 or 20 yards of copper cable can require a team lift.
With new focus on decreasing soldier burden, reducing fuel consumption, and reducing cost savings, various alternatives are being considered for one traditionally costly endeavor: powering the myriad of electronic devices that the warfighter uses. With power generation at a distance from the loads (radios, lights, chargers, etc), the power distribution cable weight, cost and power losses become a significant issue. One way to improve these characteristics is to use high-voltage power distribution, similar to typical commercial AC power, by stepping the voltage up at the source and down again at the load. Recent advances in converter technology have led to breakthrough efficiencies that allows a high-voltage DC distribution system to compete with AC distribution and/or low voltage DC distribution. In this paper, testing performed by CERDEC shows the feasibility of high-voltage DC power transmission and how such as system can reduce the Army's logistical burden to provide forward deployed power.