War on Terrorism

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Alternative Energy Powers Iraq Border Checkpoints

American Forces Press Service

Aug. 5, 2009 - A lack of traditional power sources to run equipment poses a significant challenge in Iraq, particularly for remote border security checkpoints unable to connect to the national power grid. The engineering arm of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers, has found a possible solution: alternative energy systems.

The command's engineering team has designed a unique system that leverages solar panels along with a large wind turbine. Engineers designed a rugged system they refer to as "energy in a box" for a checkpoint southeast of the Iraqi capital, connecting the wind turbine and solar panel to the appropriate switch gear to enable both power sources to generate electricity as environmental conditions allow.

Iraqi border enforcement teams run the systems, while U.S. forces provide in-depth training on how to operate and maintain them. As an added benefit, the solar and wind systems cost less over the long term than transporting fuel to large generators every week, officials said.

A solar-powered pump that draws well water into an elevated tank gives Iraqi border enforcement teams a consistent source of drinking water. The pump shuts down when the sun goes down, but the tank delivers a continuous supply of water.

"These efforts assist Iraqi border guards with an indirect capability that helps with security," said Army Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq.

Later this year, a facility southeast of Baghdad will become the first fully operational alternative-energy endeavor of its kind in Iraq, officials said. Additional solar and wind facilities will be completed next year.

(From a Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq news release.)

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