Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

An Innovative Solution to Bring On-Demand Power After a Disaster

In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, getting access to functional electric power can be a challenge. Innovations in technology are giving rise to new forms of transportable external power sources beyond standard generators. As part of a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funded project, the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The University of Texas Center for Electromechanics (CEM), and Hagerty Consulting have teamed together to develop a prototype Bus Exportable Power Supply (BEPS) System. The concept of a bus powering a building—once an offbeat notion—has now become closer to a reality.

With BEPS on board, by utilizing the inherent infrastructures built into hybrid buses, these vehicles can act as on-demand, mobile electrical-power generators, providing another tool in the emergency management toolbox to provide effective response. Through a series of workshops, multi-disciplinary expert panelists from emergency management, transportation, private sector business, electrical engineering, nonprofits, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers helped to define the parameters of BEPS System requirements, provided guidance on the best “use strategy” for the prototype technology, gauged the system’s overall value, and recommended procurement and ownership options for eventual utilization.

On January 30, 2018, BEPS was put to test for the first time through a demonstration. Once connected, a hybrid fuel cell bus successfully provided back-up power to the emergency systems of a building that traditionally serves as a shelter during large-scale disasters on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin.

Bus Exportable Power Supply (BEPS) System Step-by-Step Diagram

As a result of this test, paired with lessons learned in emergencies experienced in 2017, the Team now has the information needed to identify next steps to successful implementation, with the ultimate goal of making BEPS a reality.

BEPS Demonstration

BEPS Test Successfully Powers Building

 

For more information or questions about the BEPS system, please contact our team at BEPS@hagertyconsulting.com. Follow along with us on Disaster Discourse to see how Hagerty supports our clients to develop innovative solutions.


Hagerty Consulting is an emergency management consulting firm that helps our clients prepare for and recover from disasters. Established in 2001, Hagerty Consulting’s work includes some of the nation’s largest recovery and preparedness projects in more than 30 states, including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy.

You can learn more about our preparedness practice here.