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The Architecture MasterPrize Award 2022 – “Best of Best” Winner in Sustainable Products

Solar Powered Emergency Relief Tent

The Architectural Products Design Awards recognizes and awards the greatest architectural product designers and manufacturers. It seeks to celebrate the ingenuity of products and materials that make great architecture possible, and shine a light on those who create well-made, functional, long lasting, sustainable, beautiful and innovative products.

  • Lead Designer: Todd Dalland
  • Company/Studio: Pvilion
  • Team Members: Colin Touhey, Robert Lerner
  • Client: Florida Power and Light

This product conveniently aligns shelter, solar, and energy storage to offer a fully off-grid system that can function in almost any setting. The fabric featured on this structure is Pvilion’s signature solar cell integrated fabric, meaning that these tents can generate power for emergency response, disaster relief, lighting, environmental controls, and electrical devices, fully independent from the grid. Its convenient design allows for easy set-up, transport, and function. The lightweight tent offers 200 square feet of usable space and can be fully erected in 20 minutes.

Click here to view the award on the MasterPrize website.

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Innovation demonstration

15th Wing |  Oct. 26, 2022 | By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii —  
Airmen from the 15th Wing innovation cell, Aloha Spark, host an innovation demonstration, highlighting emerging technologies at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
 
The demonstration allowed leaders to see a real-time application in cross-capability technologies such as the portable operations network integrator and the solar powered expeditionary tent system. 

“The 15th Wing and AFWERX (a Technology Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)  leadership understand and emphasize the importance of working quickly in the Indo-Pacific theatre. Our accelerate change or lose model gives us a forward-edge approach by combining capabilities and teaming innovative technology with warfighters,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Bryan Anderson, 15th Wing innovation chief.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Bryan Anderson, 15th Wing Innovation Chief, shares insights about the Solar Powered Expeditionary Tent System with Col. Michele Lo Bianco, 15th Wing commander during an innovation demonstration at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Oct. 18, 2022. Anderson leads the 15th Wing innovation cell named Aloha Spark. Aloha Spark’s mission is to significantly increase military effectiveness through agile practices, technology and partnerships while honing in on the agile combat employment framework . (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Aloha Spark’s construct enables the innovation cell to be a pathway for collaboration and integration between the warfighter and the AFWERX network.

“When we look at the innovation ecosystem, often the technologies we need already exist. Aloha Spark saw a variety of technological solutions that we could integrate with for real-world operations,” Anderson said. 

The demonstration showed technological solutions for the warfighter but further revealed the adaptability of multi-capable Airmen and their ability to bring agile combat employment principles to the frontline. 

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron conduct training on a portable operations network integrator during an innovation demonstration at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Oct. 18, 2022. These Airmen are expanding their knowledge, skills and abilities to better engage in the agile combat employment framework required for multi-capable Airmen and foster ready forces to combatant commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Airmen from the 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron received training from the Naval Information Warfare Center on the PONi system as part of the demonstration. These Airmen consist of several Air Force specialty codes that include; flying crew chiefs, crew chiefs, hydraulic systems specialists, maintenance production, and aircraft electrical and environmental systems specialists. 

“The PONi rapidly increases our range with inbound and outbound aircraft. The communication capabilities are not just radio but 5G internet capabilities, communication with aircraft and electronic devices,” said Staff Sgt. Seth Scott, 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. James Glover, 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, installs the omni-directional antenna on the portable operations network integrator during an innovation demonstration at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Oct. 18, 2022. Glover and other Airmen are demonstrating the advances in the multi-capable Airmen concept. MCA is an initiative where a small group of Airmen are trained to accomplish tasks outside their  Air Force specialty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Scott added that receiving the training on the PONi system gives MCA’s the confidence needed to implement new capabilities while decreasing their footprint in an austere environment.
 
The SPETS system was also demonstrated. It provides the versatility needed for multipurpose usage in various environments. According to the Air Force Rapid Global Mobility office, SPETS has the ability to retrofit to meet the needs of commanders and contingencies such as personnel lodging, command center, storage facility, medical staging area, and more in various locations.

“SPETS and PONi allow MCA’s to disperse and set up a resilient and mobile command center that will give commanders quicker access to information and communication efforts while in various locations to meet the need for the future fight,” Lt. Col. Karman Khalidi, 15th Maintenance Group deputy commander.

Aloha Spark, 15th Wing innovation cell, host an innovation demonstration, highlighting emerging technologies at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Oct. 18, 2022. The Solar Powered Expeditionary Tent System properly aligns solar, energy storage, cooling and heating for a fully off grid expeditionary system.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

The MCA concepts focus on teaching skill sets outside of one’s respective career field. For Staff Sgt. Dan Kosty, 15th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, this demonstration offered an opportunity to incorporate 3D printing skills acquired while assigned to Aloha Spark and show practical cross-utilization inside the SPETS. 
   
“Having the capability to generate our energy with SPETS away from a main operating base gives us the advantage. A system like this, tethered with current technologies such as 3-D printing will allow Airmen to produce specialized applicable and agile tools for any airframe and weapons system within our forward operating region,” said Kosty. 

The U.S. Air Force defines agile combat employment as a way of operating that relies less on large traditional main overseas bases as hubs for projecting combat power and more on launching, recovering, and maintaining aircraft from dispersed forwarded operating locations in concert with allies and partners. 

Airmen from the 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and civilian partners from the Under Secretary of Defense for research and engineering office demonstrate the portable operations network integrator at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Oct. 18, 2022.  These Airmen are expanding their knowledge, skills and abilities to better engage in the agile combat employment framework required for multi-capable Airmen to foster ready forces for combatant commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

 “Demonstrations like these are great conversation starters that allow us to ask the question; how might we strengthen ACE capabilities locally?” Anderson said. “The demonstration also validated the need to further implement our multi-capable Airmen into strategies that allow us to continue ensuring our ability to maintain peace, stability and security in the Indo-Pacific.”

Click here to read the original article.

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WINNER | 2022 Award of Excellence | Freestanding Structures

Heavy Duty Portable Solar Canopy

The 76th Annual International Achievement Awards

For more than 75 years, the International Achievement Awards (IAA) recognize outstanding and innovative projects representing the latest accomplishments in design and manufacture incorporating specialty fabrics. The 42-category competition, sponsored by IFAI since 1946, is an excellent opportunity for IFAI members and non-members to display work, gain professional recognition and become distinguished on an international level.

The IAA’s have recognized technical skill and design excellence in projects across the industry that incorporate specialty fabrics into their design. Entries are judged by industry experts and design professionals who are individually selected for their expertise in a particular field of study or product area. To view the IAA website, click here.

To view the original award listing, click here: https://iaa.textiles.org/awards/hands-off-expeditionary-tent-hext/.

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WINNER | 2022 Outstanding Achievement | Technical Miscellaneous

Hands-Off Expeditionary Tent (HEXT)

The 76th Annual International Achievement Awards

For more than 75 years, the International Achievement Awards (IAA) recognize outstanding and innovative projects representing the latest accomplishments in design and manufacture incorporating specialty fabrics. The 42-category competition, sponsored by IFAI since 1946, is an excellent opportunity for IFAI members and non-members to display work, gain professional recognition and become distinguished on an international level.

The IAA’s have recognized technical skill and design excellence in projects across the industry that incorporate specialty fabrics into their design. Entries are judged by industry experts and design professionals who are individually selected for their expertise in a particular field of study or product area. To view the IAA website, click here.

To view the original award listing, click here: https://iaa.textiles.org/awards/hands-off-expeditionary-tent-hext/.

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WINNER | PRODUCTS | SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT DESIGN

Pvilion’s Solar Powered Expeditionary Tent System

SHORT DESCRIPTION

Pvilion’s Solar Powered Expeditionary Tent System is the first product of its kind to conveniently align solar, energy storage, cooling, and heating, to offer a fully off-grid expeditionary system that can function in any setting. The fabric used on this structure is Pvilion’s signature solar cell integrated fabric, meaning that these tents can generate sustainable power for communications, lighting, environmental controls, and electrical devices fully independently from the grid. It is a highly capable shelter that has solar fabric, integrated tent, floor, and liner for thermal performance. It is immediately operational in any environment. Its convenient design allows for easy set-up, transport, and function. The lightweight tent offers 200 square feet of usable space and can be fully erected in 20 minutes.

ENTRY DETAILS

LOCATION: Booklyn, NY, USA

STUDIO NAMEPvilion

LEAD DESIGNER: Todd Dalland

DESIGN TEAM: Colin Touhey, Robert Lerner

PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS: Pvilion

To view the original award listing, click here.

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HONORABLE MENTION | PRODUCTS | SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT DESIGN

Pvilion’s Lightweight Solar Canopy

SHORT DESCRIPTION

Fully relocatable and integrated with lightweight solar powered fabric, Brooklyn-based Pvilion’s Lightweight Solar Canopy can provide sustainable power anywhere that receives sunlight. This unique application of solar eliminates the need of having two separate systems for shade/shelter and sourcing power. Pvilion integrates solar power into fabric to achieve one turn-key product that provides visually appealing shade as well as outlets for charging, lighting, ventilation, climate control all in an easy to install manner. Easy to set-up and relocate, this product offers flexibility and independence to those that utilize this sustainable fabric product.

ENTRY DETAILS

LOCATION: Booklyn, NY, USA

STUDIO NAMEPvilion

LEAD DESIGNER: Todd Dalland

DESIGN TEAM: Colin Touhey, Robert Lerner

PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS: Pvilion

To view the original award listing, click here.

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WINNER | PRODUCTS | TEXTILE DESIGN

Pvilion’s Hands-Off Expeditionary Tent (HEXT)

SHORT DESCRIPTION

Pvilion’s Hands-Off Expeditionary Tent (HEXT) is a rapidly deployable shelter system built with defense, industrial and commercial applications in mind. This tent has been developed by Pvilion for the USAF in support of additive manufacturing, space operations, and expeditionary forces. Its advanced design reduces the labor, manpower, and time required to erect and dismantle temporary shelters for austere and remote environments. The structure can be entirely deployed at the push of a button without human intervention in less than three minutes. Where large labor forces and much time were previously required, the Hands-Off Expeditionary Tent structural system allows for fewer logistics operators managing more parallel processes. This rapid sequence allows more time to focus on mission accomplishment and less time required for logistics and setup. The tent fully erects itself in a matter of minutes, literally with the push of a button. It features walls, doors, optional solar powered integrations, and allows for plenty of space for meetings and operations to take place.

ENTRY DETAILS

LOCATION: Booklyn, NY, USA

STUDIO NAMEPvilion

LEAD DESIGNER: Colin Touhey

DESIGN TEAM: Todd Dalland, Robert Lerner

PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS: Pvilion

To view the original award listing, click here.

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Project Spotlight: Pvilion Canopies to be Featured in the Croton Water Filtration Plant Golf Course

August 17, 2022 | Julia Fowler

Soon Pvilion canopies will keep patrons of the Mosholu Golf Course driving range cool in the shade, as they practice directly above the Croton Water Filtration Plant.

Pvilion on the Course

Construction on this project with its fully sustainable “living roof” began again in 2015. The driving range located within the golf course features natural water elements, inspired by the native habitats found in the park. Featured on the driving range directly above the water treatment plant, will be 31 Pvilion canopies. These canopies will shade patrons that utilize the driving range in the golf course. 

Rendering of the upcoming project by Pvilion

What is the Croton Water Filtration Plant?

The Croton Water Filtration Plant, located in the Bronx, is the first water treatment plan located within New York’s boroughs. Not only is it the oldest water supply system in New York City, but it is also the largest underground water filtration plant in the United states. The plant stretches for twelve acres beneath the ground, located beneath the Mosholu Golf Course inVan Cortlandt Park

Fully Hidden Underground

Responsible for processing a third of the city’s drinking water, The Croton is one of the largest infrastructure projects in New York City. Fully underground, the treatment plant is 12 stories tall. You would never know it from above, though. On the surface, all that’s visible are wetlands, park grounds, and golf course. 

To learn more about the Croton Water Filtration Plant Project, click here.

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Solar Support in Hazardous Locations

PV Magazine | July 27, 2022 | BLAKE MATICH

In some of the world’s most hazardous locations, a resilient and autonomous common denominator is often found – solar energy. From offshore oil rigs to remote mine sites and the frontlines of conflict zones, solar power functions where others fail, and it does so without the need of refuelling or regular maintenance. But what makes solar such a ‘no-brainer’ that even the oil and gas industry must turn to it? And what other hazardous locations can be electrified with solar? Blake Matich reports.

Pvilion’s solar tent structure is designed to provide quick access to both power and shelter in various difficult settings. The solution has been adopted by the US Army, which sees various applications in disaster response, contingency response, emergency preparedness, hurricane relief and humanitarian aid.

Solar panels may seem a juxtaposition in the midst of oilfields and atop offshore oil rigs. But thanks to its resilience and dependability, solar has found a home in some of the world’s most remote and hazardous locations, including those devoted to the extraction of fossil fuels.

“For remote critical power applications, PV is more often than not the only solution,” says Mark Cerasuolo, a director at US-based solar controller company Morningstar. And there is no shortage of remote critical power applications. Cerasuolo puts the global network of oil and gas pipelines at 3.2 million kilometers, featuring over 65,000 extraction and operation sites (9,000 of which are offshore). “Yet the growing influence and adoption of ‘Digital Oilfield’ technologies requires power to run on nearly every mile of pipeline and at every site – from the Indian Ocean floor to the Sahara Desert.”

And yet, while diesel and gas generators require continual refuelling, regular maintenance and often replacement (all extremely expensive tasks in remote and hazardous locations like mines or unmanned offshore platforms), a PV system requires little more than sunshine. “They can run for years without being touched,” added Cerasuolo, who pointed to solar arrays still in operation on satellites that have been in orbit since the 1960s as an example. “PV’s capex is soon offset by its superior opex, and that translates into bottom-line benefits very quickly.”

The digitization of oilfields not only enables increased productivity and savings, but means operations are a whole lot safer. However, these benefits all depend on “PV being the most cost-effective means of reliably powering remote systems and delivering ‘greener oilfield’ benefits.”

On an offshore oil platform, PV is often the most practical option to power valve and motor control, sensor systems, communications, lighting and navigation systems and even bird-deterrence systems.Image: JCE

Taking an offshore oil platform as an example, a PV system powers valve and motor control, sensor systems, communications, lighting and navigation systems and even bird-deterrence systems. “The last is part of life at sea,” continues Cerasuolo. “Bird droppings are corrosive and can quickly affect machinery on a platform if not managed properly.” Moreover, “offshore platforms often have helidecks for transporting personnel” which are “equipped with powerful lighting systems, and our solar controllers have the load management capabilities these lighting systems require.”

The term “hazardous” doesn’t simply refer to a location’s remoteness or environmental dangers – it’s precisely defined. In North America, Underwriters Laboratories and the Canadian Standards Association use a Class/Division/Groups method, meaning a hazardous location is defined when gases, liquids and vapors (the Class) may be present (the Division) and which include substances such as hydrogen, gasoline, propane and others (the Group). Outside North America, the International Electro-technical Commission and the European Committee for Electro-technical Standardization use a “Zone System.”

Compared to alternatives, PV systems are much better suited to HazLoc standards. Often developers custom-design PV power systems in enclosures and skids for oil and gas customers, with some specializing in explosion-proof container systems where Morningstar’s charge controllers operate for years in a small, sealed space. Cerasuolo noted the technology’s fanless design reduces the potential of harmful vapors and gases flowing over circuitry, as does encapsulating internal components. “It’s quite common for Morningstar to be the second choice in such circumstances,” says Cerasuolo. “After the first controllers installed have failed in the field.”

PV systems are often better placed than others to meet safety standards in hazardous locations such as remote oil extraction sites.Image: SunWize

Solar in conflict zones

It is said that an army marches on its stomach, but as Brooklyn-based solar fabric and structure developer Pvilion’s Julia Fowler told pv magazine, the US Army is already marching on its solar technology. “We have fully developed a turnkey solar powered integrated structure that provides shelter, power, and climate conditioning in remote and austere environments.”

In short, Pvilion developed a solar tent, a structure as easy to put up as it is to pack away and “fully independently powered.” While technology has advanced rapidly in recent decades, the tent doesn’t seem to have evolved much beyond the classic hutchie – a stick with a sheet draped over it. But Pvilion likes to think of its tents as “the Swiss Army knife of tents, as they are designed to provide more with less.”

“Not only do they provide shelter, but they provide power, convenience, adaptability, heating and cooling, and protection from the elements… with the goal of maximizing mission-objective readiness.” Of course, those missions are not always of the combat variety. “Our structures provide solutions in many different settings and applications,” says Fowler. “To name a few, disaster response, contingency response, emergency preparedness, hurricane relief, humanitarian aid, refugee centers.”

Part of this variability is the solar tent’s position in the energy-water nexus demonstrated by “Project Arcwater”, which sees the tent’s solar energy generation used to harvest water in an agile combat deployment situation.

Senior Master Sgt. Brent Kenney of the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.Image: US Department of Defence/Spangdahlem Air Base

In March 2022, Senior Master Sgt. Brent Kenney of the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, received the 2022 Spark Tank trophy at the Air Force Association’s Warfare Symposium for “Project Arcwater”. In Kenney’s estimation, a three-day 30-person mission that would normally cost $40,000 would, with the help of the solar tent and its powering of other tech such as the water harvester, cost under $600 while providing the same combat capability.

That 98% cost reduction is put down to using 83% less fuel, less cargo space, no longer paying for water, and all with a package that is quicker and lighter. The water harvester alone negates the need for a new pallet of water every six days, representing a $9 million saving annually across the US Air Force.

Additionally, the solar structures come with ready-to-use battery kits further reducing dependency on diesel. “The kits provide modular 4 kWh battery kits, and are typically used in multiples of six, for a total of 24 kWh of readily available power,” says Fowler.

High-altitude installations

The Indian government’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) aims for the country to reach 40% cumulative installed electric capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energies by 2030. But as one of the most densely populated countries in the world, India will have to take advantage of its high-altitude regions to reach its ambitious solar targets.

However, Saurabh Nirgudkar, a project engineer at Evergy Engineering India who contributed to the World Bank’s “Live Wire” series on “Installing Solar Power Plants in Snowbound Areas: Lessons from Himachal Pradesh, India,” told pv magazine that there is no shortage of hazards and obstacles when it comes to snowbound and high-altitude solar projects.

The projects themselves are susceptible to high winds capable of taking the module off the racking systems and even compromising the stability of the mounting systems themselves. Moreover, the modules need to be rated up to 4,000 m altitude while also being capable of operating at extremely low temperatures and withstanding a minimum of 5,400 Pascal of pressure from wind and snowloads.

Nirgudkar pointed to a number of ways to overcome these challenges, such as the addition of back rails to mounting structures and the use of gravity weights instead of deep drilling in fragile snowbound soil strata. Moreover, due to the high UV penetration, rain and snow, cabling should be installed within the mounting structure and under the PV modules. Any exposed cabling should sport additional plastic piping.

This notion was seconded by Olivier Haldi, head of business development for Stäubli Electrical Connectors, a company which has been at the forefront of solutions for PV in hazardous locations from projects in Antarctica, to projects 2,500 meters above sea level on the Muttsee dam in Switzerland and even as high as 5,000 meters above sea level in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Haldi told pv magazine that, “Generally speaking, if your product (connector) is already at or close to the limit under ‘normal’ conditions, it’s not designed for and won’t manage harsh environments. So you need a certain margin in your product design, technology and material.”

Combiner boxes, transformers and inverters (preferably string) also require shelter under panels and extra protection in case of exposure. What is more, these often remote and precarious locations also pose a range of logistical challenges, not only for installation but also offtake. Such challenges necessitate rigorous planning and site selection criteria.

While engineers have worked out methods to overcome the challenges of high-altitude, there remains the begging question of why high-altitude regions are suitable for PV in the first place?

For anyone who has spent time at altitude the answer is straightforward. Not only do PV systems prefer cooler temperatures, but the clear open skies above the cloud line along with higher levels of irradiance ensure greater yields. Take the focus area of the World Bank study, the Spiti Valley, which “receives almost 300 days of clear sunshine annually” and considering “the land at such high altitudes is predominantly barren and slopy terrain of low value, this cuts down on land cost significantly.”

Nirgudkar believes “there is a bright future for such projects. Huge steps are already being taken in this direction with Minister of Power India and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) looking at the possibility of setting up a 10 GW renewable energy project in Leh, Ladakh, which is at an altitude of more than 3,500 m. A battery energy storage system of 12 GWh is also proposed to be installed.”

“The local community also benefits from these projects,” continued Nirgudkar. Benefits include employment opportunities and economic boosts, not to mention a chance to alleviate a dependency on expensive diesel fuel which has come as a result of “erratic electricity supply.” 

To view the original article, click here.