Eaton Corp. will receive a US$2.4 million federal stimulus grant to develop a microgrid to help military bases better manage power and storage while reducing their carbon footprints. The project is intended to achieve an uninterrupted power supply (independent of commercial utility power) for critical mission and support functions on military bases, and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions.

The first year of the 18-month project, administered through the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center's Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), will focus on research and development (R&D) activities at Georgia Tech University, the University of Wisconsin and Eaton's Innovation Centers in Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Eaton and the university research teams will also demonstrate how the new system can operate independent of a civilian grid while balancing the use of solar, wind and natural gas backup power, and storing energy for future needs. The final six months of the project will focus on R&D activities and a demonstration project at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

The CERL project will apply to civilian and other government applications, and is part of the U.S. Army's Net-Zero Energy initiative that promotes the construction and modification of buildings or installations that create as much energy as they consume. According to the 2009 Defense Department Appropriations Act, U.S. military installations consumed 3.8 billion kWh of electricity in 2008, enough to power 350,000 households, and spent $4.1 billion on energy and fuel.

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