AFWERX announces Reimagining Energy Challenge
AFWERX, the U.S. Air Force’s innovation catalyst, announced on September 3 the Reimagining Energy for the DoD Challenge, seeking solutions to create the future of resilient energy production, transmission, use and storage. The Department of Defense (DoD) is currently the largest energy consumer globally. By reducing demand and reliance on petroleum and modernizing the energy infrastructure, the U.S. Air Force can improve the way they consume energy, increase sustainability, and remain adaptable to future impacts of climate change and reduction in fossil fuels.
This is an incredible opportunity for the DoD to partner with innovative industries and academia to identify, fund and launch new energy strategies from now until 2045, AFWERX said. The Challenge is seeking solutions that can be implemented immediately, those that require some further development and also moonshot ideas that may not be implemented until 2045.
“The disruption of the energy sector is already happening. There’s unbelievable innovation occurring in how we produce, transmit and store energy. The DoD must partner with those leading this disruption in both industry and academia to ensure we maintain our competitive advantage,” stated Colonel Charles Bris-Bois, Air Force Disruptive Technology Team.
The Reimagining Energy for the DoD Challenge will gather people from industry, government, and academia to identify solutions for a sustainable energy infrastructure for the Department of Defense. The goals of the Challenge are to leverage all energy sources for military use such as wind, solar, thermal, hydro, nuclear and hydrogen and increase mission effectiveness and quality of life, while reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The aspirational targets are to eliminate all fossil fuel dependency and achieve a carbon negative DoD.
The Reimagining Energy for the DoD Challenge encompasses six specific topics:
- Permanent & Mobile Energy Generation
- Energy Transmission & Distribution
- Mobile & Fixed Energy Storage
- New Warfighting & Operational Equipment Not Dependent on Fossil Fuels
- Data Availability for Improved Planning & Decision Making
- Energy Culture, Policy & Education
“I am really excited for this Challenge for two reasons. First, this will change the way the DoD consumes, stores, distributes and uses energy, which has strategic benefit and benefits the planet at the same time, given the aspirational carbon-negative target. Second, this Challenge is running concurrently with a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) focus area which creates a lot of opportunity for small businesses in the U.S. to receive government funding to support this initiative,” said Mark Rowland, Innovation Actualizer for AFWERX.
The open call for solutions for the Reimagining Energy Challenge launches on Sept. 2, 2020. The submission window will remain open until Oct. 1, 2020. Teams that submit their solutions by September 14 will be invited to participate in an event on September 17 where they will receive feedback to improve their submissions; participate in a Q&A session and also a networking and collaboration opportunity. Submissions are accepted from across the globe, both domestic and international organizations and individuals are encouraged to participate. The full challenge overview and details to submit a proposed solution are available at afwerxchallenge.com/energy.