Champion of Change

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As a civilian, Dr. Alan Samuels works as a research chemist at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., where he studies remote-sensing technology for the Army. As a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, he recently returned from deployment to Afghanistan, where he supported the efforts of the Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command to evaluate better ways to more efficiently use energy in a combat environment.

The research Samuels conducted while deployed recently earned him the distinction of being one among nine Americans honored as "Champions of Change" by the White House.

"It's a very humbling thing for me... as a research chemist without any real expertise in power and energy," Samuels said of the honor. "I am glad I was able to make a contribution to help out."

The Army Reserve Sustainment Command Soldier worked in support of RDECOM's initiative to set up a science and technology collaboration, researching the effectiveness of energy-saving micro-grid technology.

Samuels deployed to Afghanistan in April 201 1 to set up this center at Bagram Airfield. His team collaborated and shared information with other Army and Department of Defense agencies in Afghanistan to address operational energy challenges there.

One of the efforts Samuels was involved in was to assess, in an operational environment, the efficiency of traditional power-distribution systems using generators, and how that changes with the addition of micro-grid technology. Traditional power-distribution networks on a base, in a combat environment, Samuels said, are using fuel inefficiently.

"We had 60kw generators putting out anywhere from 5 to 15kw around the base," he said. "That is kind of bad news for the generator systems. They are using a lot of fuel they don't have to. Second, there are maintenance issues. Since the generator is not running at its load, it's not reaching the temperature it needs to efficiently burn that fuel and put out power based on the demand. …