By Eric Lindeman

Hoping to reduce the quantity of oil that must be moved by convoy to forward operating bases in Afghanistan, the Army has awarded a contract to SkyBuilt Power, the Arlington, Va.-based pioneer in rapidly deployable, hybrid renewable energy power stations.

The deal, announced Aug. 11, provides for both products and services for Afghanistan. No details on the technologies covered by the contract were released.

SkyBuilt’s product and integrated systems for advanced power systems “have been saving up to 97 percent on fuel for years in the field with the military and other customers,” said SkyBuilt’s chairman, Bill Buck.

The SkyBuilt systems can be fixed or mobile, on or off grid, the company said. They use any kind of renewable energy (solar, wind, biomass), fuel, or other sources. They are being use all over the world and operate in difficult climates while reducing fuel and maintenance requirements.

In its announcement, SkyBuilt, a relatively small innovative company, said its mobile, rapidly deployable systems are designed use by every branch of the military as well as for telecommunications, intelligence, disaster relief and reconstruction (particularly in Haiti), Homeland Security, mobile health clinics, water pumping and sustainable economic development in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

SkyBuilt’s President and CEO David Muchow emphasized that the new Army contract “is another example of how SkyBuilt’s unique, rapidly deployable, renewable energy power systems can support our troops in the field.

“These patented systems can reduce the threat from IEDs [improvised explosive devices] by reducing the need for fuel convoys, while saving operating expenses, maintenance and spare parts required with diesel generators. SkyBuilt’s quiet systems also are ideal for night watch in remote forward operating bases and other locations, and for sensor systems. And they can have minimal heat and radar signatures.”

The company’s patented systems come in various platforms, from low power to high power and microgrid systems. They often pay for themselves in months to a few years in operating cost savings, depending on the solar and wind resource at the site, SkyBuilt said.

The company described its current offerings:

  • “SkyStation” is a containerized system offering solar, wind, batteries in combination with generators and other options for use in tactical operations centers, telecom, mobile clinics, baseload and backup power, disaster relief, telecom power, and rapidly deployable micro grid power.
  • “SkyTrailer” provides mobile renewable power on trailers and can be set up in as little as 45 minutes.
  • “SkySkid” provides lightweight power on fork-liftable skids for remote communications and other uses.
  • “SkyCase” is a man-portable power station in an airline-checkable case with high efficiency SkyPAK solar blankets.
  • SkyWater” combines highly efficient water treatment technology (500 watts provides 10 gallons per minutes continuously from gray water) with a mobile or fixed power system.
  • “SkyStructures” are panelized, insulated, fire resistant, rapidly deployable structures with renewable energy power systems. In the field, the panels can be easily assembled into structures that replace tents, providing longer life and lower HVAC needs than tents to cut power use.