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The DOD Energy Blog

Tracking the US Military as it deals with Peak Oil and moves to new energy in the 21st century. Investigates solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, synthetic fuels, hybrids, energy efficiency and any/all other improvements to help make DOD less dependent on oil. For Green Hawks, energy tech researchers and anyone else who wants to see the Department of Defense survive and thrive during this period of great transition. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. Research & Development
  1. 2015 End of Year Update
    Hello new, old and ancient (no offense) DEB readers.  Please accept my apologies for taking more than 12 months to add a new post when during the good old days (2008-2013) this was a weekly if not a daily endeavor.

    This note doesn't signal a return to that former rhythm; rather, just want you to know I keep my eye on the blog's traffic stats and can confirm that people continue to find the material archived here and find it useful. So am certainly planning on maintaining the current site and who knows, may be able to restore it to its former pace and glory at some point. (Dan Nolan: I know you're out there !!!) BTW I am pretty active on Twitter these days and you can follow me at:

    Meanwhile ...

    The opportunities I get to pursue as part of the DOE at the Idaho National Lab continue to amaze.  Having served in the Air Force in my early days, and then in companies large, small and very small after that, I can say with confidence that nothing I've done before comes close to the national energy + security impact I'm now having. It's truly the most satisfying time in my work life and I hope you, if you've haven't had this feeling yet, will be able to at some point in your career.

    The staggering scope of some of the problems we're tackling can overwhelm. The constraints can discourage. And the urgency with which we've got to set things right is not something many decision-makers yet understand.

    If you're a part of keeping our nation safe at any level, be it Federal, State, local, critical infrastructure owner/operator, supplier, service provider, etc., I'll be happy to support you in any way I can. At a minimum, point you in potentially helpful directions or connect you with the right/best folks.

    In the meantime, another year is about to be in the books. I've got lots of things to be thankful for, not the least of which are my family and the many incredible and like-minded people I work with and also call friends. I wish the best for you and yours and will be happy if our paths can cross in 2016, online, in the real world, or anywhere in between.

    AB & Crew, Boston, Dec 2015

  2. Energy Security Postscript and Next Chapter
    Cross-posted from the Smart Grid Security Blog

    Long-time readers of the SGSB might have wondered if they'd ever see another post. Me too. After producing an average of 1+ posts per week since its inception 5 years ago, I cut way back after leaving IBM in 2013 to give myself more time to focus on consulting. And now there's a new development to report.

    4 month ago I shuttered my security strategy business and began my first day on the job at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). It's one of the Department of Energy's national labs, and it's the one most squarely positioned at the intersection of energy infrastructure and national security. Let's call that energy security.

    My INL title: Senior Cyber & Energy Security Strategist - may sound a little pretentious, but it pretty accurately captures what I was hired to do. If you visit the lab's home page or the INL Twitter feed it seems like nuclear energy research and related nuclear work are its dominant activities. But while nuclear energy research and fuels fabrication were its origin in the 1940's and its historic mission, with the help of its massive and remote test range that includes grid-scale transmission, distribution and communications assets, the lab I just joined does a ton of research and applied work on power and industrial control systems, Smart Grid and wireless communications, cyber and physical security and resilience, renewables, microgrids, energy storage and more.

    Nuclear energy R&D, and full nuclear fuel lifecycle work (including non proliferation) will always be a significant part of that nation's requirements, and the INL mission, but nuclear energy is arguably the most reliable portion of our non fossil fuel baseload, but INL is quietly becoming something much more - and more important - than its nuclear legacy might suggest.

    Without going into too much detail, the lab's customers now include not just DOE's nuclear energy organizations, but also DOE's renewables, resilience and cyber-physical security components too. DHS has become a major customer, as the lab hosts the ICS-CERT cyber security overwatch function for the US grid and other critical infrastructures, and performs other leading edge cyber and physical security roles as well. DoD is a very large customer too, for energy, security and communications test functions, rounded out by direct work with utilities and energy and telecom technology suppliers.

    In short, INL in 2014 is not the lab many people think it is. While it's yet to update its image online, a visit to Idaho Falls quickly confirms that this is one of the nation's preeminent Energy Security lab resources. Nuclear energy is and likely always will be a key element, but without making much noise about it, INL has become so much more, and I'm very very lucky to be a part of it.


    Postscript to the Postscript post: Though my blogs are in suspended animation, I continue to speak in public, and albeit more frequently and tersely, on Twitter @andybochman. As the Twitter profile reveals, I continue to work out of my home office in Boston while hitting the road most often for DC, and of course, now, Idaho.

  3. Window Closing to Apply for Outanding DOD Energy Position
    Maybe you got it too, but in case you didn't, this is just in from Ollie Fritz:

    There is a civilian job opportunity on the OEPP Policy team that I wanted to share with the defense energy community.

    Duties for this position include:
    • Develops and adapts and/or oversees policies and governance for the implementation of the Department of Defense (DoD) Operational Energy Strategy.
    • Leads task groups that convene Defense Components to assess operational energy challenges, develop Department wide recommendations and findings and synchronize policies.
    • Oversees policy and analyses regarding the role of energy in Combatant Command (CCMD) and Department security and international partnerships.
    • Coordinates with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military Departments, CCMDs, and as needed foreign military organizations in support of exercises, technical cooperation, information sharing and bilateral/multilateral engagements related to energy.
    • Assists in the development and preparation of materials (posture statements, testimony and backup material) for use by senior DoD leadership in the presentations to Congress, Congressional Committees, Congressional Budget Office, and other external organizations.
    You can find more details here: The position is open to all US citizens and current Status candidates, and applications are due by 11:59PM on Friday, 11 July.
    If you have a good background for this, and you think you could make a difference, and you have a burning desire to make a difference, then you'd better throw your name in the hat ... and fast.  Opportunities like this don't come around very often !!!
  4. Energy Storage for DOD & IC Energy Security

    Try not to get greedy, but it looks like legendary but MIA DOD Energy blogger Dan Nolan has just emerged and offered up a tapas-sized post. Let's see how he does:

    One of the nation’s mission critical facilities is going green or at least getting more energy secure. DOD has deployed 1.6MW of solid oxide fuel cells in support of undisclosed NSA facilities at Fort Meade, MD. The system, supplied by Bloom Energy and installed by ARGO Systems, a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), was announced yesterday. You can read the press release here.

    In watching fuel cell development over the past decade, I was always told they were 5 years away, and had been for the last 15! Apparently, someone was able to figure out the value of energy security that is provided by a sustainable, reliable, and secure power generation system. I guess if you are running the servers that are processing EVERYTHING (according to Glenn Greenwald) maintaining energy security is important. As much battering as the good folks at the NSA have been taking, let me be the first to say, “Way to Go, Green!” - Dan Nolan
  5. DOD Energy Tech Advance: NRL's Seawater-to-Fuel Alchemy

    Sorry, it's been a while, but this news echoed something a Navy friend in Idaho told me earlier this week and I was compelled to post. It's not about transmutation of lead into gold, it's not water into wine, rather it's something far more important to US and DOD operational energy assurance: a process to turn seawater into fuel for ships and aerial vehicles.

    Here's a blurb from DOD's science blog (bet you didn't know DOD had a science blog):
    The potential payoff, according to the Navy, is the ability to produce fuel stock at sea or in remote locations. Aside from being convenient – utilizing resources around you for an immediate need is a benefit that speaks for itself – this will reduce the logistics tail on fuel delivery with no environmental burden. This also increases the Navy’s energy security and independence.
    Vice Admiral Phil Cullom, no stranger to the DOD Energy Blog comments on what drives research like this:
    We need to reinvent how we create energy, how we value energy and how we consume energy.
    Seems to me the NRL researchers are turning Cullom's aspirational words into a near-term reality.  Great stuff. You can read the full post, including videos, HERE.

    Image credit: "The Alchemist" by David Teniers the Younger on
  6. Remembering DOD Energy Pioneer Steve Siegel
    Scott Sklar shared a sad update with me this weekend on the untimely passing of his friend and DOD Energy colleague, Stephen Siegel:
    For the last 15 years I have worked very closely with my friend and colleague Steve Siegel who worked for the Army Analysis Center and then had his own firm, the Energy & Security Group, run with his wife Judy. 
    Steve was a colleague for our early education seminar series we held for five years at National Defense University on renewable energy for senior military leaders. And Steve and I developed a renewable energy curricula aide for the DOD service academies and war colleges on how best to integrate the newer energy technologies into the DOE fabric of solutions. 
    Steve passed away in his sleep this week. The reasons are not yet known. As one senior OSD official just e-mailed me, “Steve was one of the pioneers in developing methods and tools to quantify the cost of delivering fuel to forward locations and he used his network to help socialize the use of these tools within the Army.” 
    As we all know, life is fragile. He was an important thought leader in integrating renewable and distributed energy options to meet the DOD mission. I will sure miss him.
    Thank you Scott. This blog has been following and lauding Steve's work since 2009, including a post that said, "Google for 'Steve Siegel' and FBCF (fully burdened cost of fuel) and you get a FBCF goldmine."

    And thank you Steve, for all you did to advance our thinking over the years on these critical energy and security topics. ab
  7. SPIDERS Secure Microgrid Industry Show & Tell Coming Up
    Army energy wizard and acting branch chief Harold Sanborn, who's had his hands on SPIDERS since day one, will be there. So will my fellow Zoomie Stuart McCafferty, CEO of GridIntellect, who's been sharing his vast microgrid expertise recently on I'd also expect engineers from Burns McDonnell, who've been integral to SPIDERS success, to be in attendance.

    Here are the basics for you:

    It's called, somewhat verbosely: "The Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) Industry Day"

    22 April 2014, 0800-1330


    Fort Carson McMahon Theater
    1517 McDonald Ave
    Fort Carson, CO (south side of Colorado Springs)

    Official Description:

    Hosted by the U.S. Northern Command, JCTD Industry Day will focus on sharing the lessons learned and results of the Phase 2 Operational Demonstration performed at Fort Carson with the public sector and partner agencies.

    This event is open to all stakeholders with an interest in the development of secure microgrids, ranging from policy and regulatory bodies and equipment vendors to those tasked with the development of standards and specifications and utilities that will be interconnecting with these microgrids.

    • SPIDERS Technical Report
    • V2G solutions and technical and acquisition evolution from Phase 1
    • Microgid Cyber Security: Critical Elements, Requirements and Controls
    • Transitioning SPIDERS JCTD to Industry and Military
    • Cyber Experimentation Report
    • Phase 3 & Future Plans Post-SPIDERS JCTD
    • Tours of Ft. Carson Microgrid while under Red Team Cyber Attack
    Link for More Info and to Register

    Hope you can make it. ab
  8. Operational Base Energy Smarts Finally Emerging - Bigtime
    I few weeks ago I posted on "Hybrid Hopes for Greatly Reducing Operational Base Fuel Requirements"

    Since then, two more things have come my way.  One was a note from DOD Energy friend and guru Scott Sklar of the DC-based Stella Group, who wrote thusly: 
    I asked energy integrator MILSPRAY to bring the unit (mentioned in the post above) to Arlington two weeks ago for the military folks from the different services to 'kick the tires'.  This unit powered the corrosion facility (MCRF) in Quantico, VA from July - October (14 weeks) last year and the fuel savings versus a standard generator was 78.6% (wow), and the the same set-up at 29 Palms, CA. I am beginning to see better-engineered systems that can stand-alone or interact with on-site diesel generators seamlessly.
    This is heavy duty news coming from Scott.

    Also just received the DOE's Smart and Green Energy (SAGE) for Basecamps final report and it aligns quite nicely with the observations from the previous post. You can read the full document HERE, but just below you'll find the most important bits in summary form.

    SAGE: 5 Conclusions
    1. Significant energy savings is readily achievable through deploying two kinds of technologies: a. technologies to reduce the energy demand (e.g., insulated shelters, building controls) b. technologies to improve the efficiency of electricity generation (e.g., microgrids, renewable energy). 
    2. A combination of energy conservation measures, renewable energy sources, and a smart microgrid can reduce base camp energy consumption by 49%–84% depending on camp size and location. Smart microgrids with energy storage systems supply power with improved voltage and frequency stability, increased grid reliability and longer life of end-use equipment. If microgrids are not possible, right-sizing of existing spot generation has the potential to save significant amounts of fuel annually. 
    3. Renewable energy systems can reduce base camp energy demand and fuel use. They can be reliably integrated into smart base camp microgrids without harming grid stability or degrading the output of the renewable source. A combination of spot generation with renewable energy sources is generally not recommended.
    4. A properly sized solar hot water (SHW) heating system can supply a significant fraction of a base camp’s water heating requirements using solar energy, thereby saving fuel over standard water heating configurations. 
    5. A base camp energy management system, equipped with real-time monitoring and control of base parameters, enables central and informed decision making without overburdening the operator with information. Configurable automatic load shedding provides potential for reducing camp energy consumption for normal operations and for unplanned events. 
    SAGE: 5 Recommendations
    1. Replace spot generation systems with properly sized power generators that are integrated with smart microgrids. When appropriate, include an energy storage system and a base camp energy management system. When a microgrid is not initially feasible, correctly size the spot generators to meet the actual loads. 
    2. Replace poorly or un-insulated tents with insulated, energy efficient shelters featuring right- sized high-efficiency ECUs. Add insulation to uninsulated shelters such as wood-framed or concrete block shelters. Include remotely controllable circuits and integration with a base camp energy management system. 
    3. Install a well-designed and right-sized sized SHW system in camps with suitable conditions (e.g., expensive energy, remote areas, strong solar resource, high-volume water heating requirements, etc.). 
    4. Implement a base camp energy management system that features remote control capability of electric loads, reporting, and decision support and can feature automated load reduction schemes. 
    5. Implement right-sized renewable energy sources suitable for the base camp climate conditions and make sure the renewable energy system can integrate into a microgrid and base camp energy management system. 

  9. Hybrid Hopes for Greatly Reducing Operational Base Fuel Requirements
    Sounds like a microgrid disguised as a generator.  See what you think:
    Today, the U.S. military powers its operating bases with diesel generators that run continuously. The problem is that it’s difficult to match the generating capacity with the actual power load from air conditioners, electronics, and other gear, which fluctuates during the day and in different seasons. And when the demand for power is lower than the generator’s full capacity, the fuel efficiency drops off dramatically and the maintenance increases.
    Earl Energy’s FlexGen “hybrid generator” is wired to a diesel generator running at full capacity, which is how it's most efficient. When there is excess power, the diesel generator charges the batteries. If the batteries have enough stored energy to meet the demand for electricity, then the generator shuts off. In tests in Afghanistan, the Earl Energy system allowed the generators to run three to six hours a day, compared with around the clock before it was installed, says Doug Moorehead, the CEO of Earl Energy.
    Often in stories like these there's a rub.  But if those real-world results from Afghanistan were achieved without any many compromises, then this is clearly a big win in an area we've made almost no progress for decades.  Will be keeping an eye on Moorehead and Earl Energy for sure.

    Full IEEE Spectrum article: HERE.
  10. Announcing a Blogging Slowdown as a New Energy and Security Business is Born
    Dear Reader,

    You may have noticed the number of posts has tapered off lately on the DOD Energy Blog. I've got to tell you that it's not from lack of interest or diminished activity in our space ... far from it.

    Rather, since I departed IBM last September I've been working overtime putting my consulting business together. I've now reached the point where my focus is set, my offerings are defined, and my first partners and customers have emerged.

    That means the taxiing period is over and it's time to push the throttle all the way forward and lift off ... hence, less blogging here, at least for a while.

    The new business is called Bochman Advisors, and as you'll see when you visit the NEW SITE I just built, it immediately identifies its focus as "Strategic security consulting for the energy sector".  So far, this is working out as helping security companies get smarter on energy matters, and energy companies do better with security.

    Because a blog is built into the site, I'm going to pull in a few posts I've previously published and then start a fresh run there. This means the DOD Energy blog (as well as the Smart Grid Security blog) will continue to be accessible as archives, but that they'll be relatively quiet in terms of new material, at least in the first half of 2014.

    Meanwhile, I'm speaking in front of energy-oriented lawyers tomorrow, will be making the rounds (and warming up a bit) at Distributech in San Antonio next week, and speaking in DC and elsewhere throughout the rest of winter and spring. I've got these things posted on the News & Events page, btw, and will try to keep that updated.

    I've also become a fairly active person on Twitter, where I simply use my name as my ID, so that's @andybochman.  If that medium is new to you, you should know I learn an incredible amount there, and have met some of the most interesting and helpful energy and security people people on Twitter over the past year or so.

    OK, that's all I've got for now.  Hope this epistolary post finds you warm and well, and I'd be very happy to see you over at the Bochman Advisors blog sometime if you choose to stop by.  

    Yours truly, Andy

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