During his keynote speech at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington DC this morning, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the Department of Defense (DOD) and ARPA-e will partner on two energy storage initiatives. The first is to develop hybrid energy storage modules; the second to fund a grid energy storage study.
The hybrid storage modules are intended to provide long-endurance, high energy density materials in small modular and easily scalable packages, Mabus said. The overall goal is to extend the current level of fuel duration by up to 30% while concurrently providing batteries that can accept and discharge very large amounts of energy, he said.
Military uses of the modules ranges from expeditionary, tactical uses on land (e.g., a tactical energy distribution network) to providing stable power for weapons systems on the seas.
This is a critical step to solving one of the shipboard integration challenges associated with development of electric weapons such as rail guns and directed energy weapons. [These require] higher power, and rapid discharge. Right now we are working on doing that repeatedly and reliably. Energy storage is a big part of that solution.—Secretary Mabus
The grid storage study will leverage ARPA-E projects in that area to provide reliable energy to Navy facilities onshore. The Navy and Marine Corps owns 3.3 million acres of land and 72,500 buildings, Mabus noted.