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To help Puerto Rico, US gov should visit DC Convention Center with a checkbook

October 10th, 2017 · No Comments

The U.S. military is designed to operate amid the worst disaster(s) imaginable: modern warfare of all types. The vast military-industrial machine supports this — providing multiple options of weapons (that creates disaster?) to housing for difficult environments (tents) to mobile power generation (diesel generators, solar panels, …) to communications systems to water purification to .. The annual Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) meeting has a massive trade show space with a chance to touch, feel, discuss virtually every aspect of systems and services to enable the U.S. military (Army) to function: from home base to the front line. Within the vast array, option after option that could play to help Puerto Ricans (almost literally) tomorrow address the array of post-Maria challenges.

Teva Environmental solar powered water purification system

Here are four brief examples:


Tova Environmental‘s WS25 is a solar-powered water purification system that delivers 20,000 gallons of potable water a day with, of course, no requirement for grid connection or diesel fuel for electricity. Easy to deploy and maintain/operate, the WS25 could support basic drinking requirements for 5,000 Puerto Ricans starting virtually immediately on arrival on scene. Tova is a start-up: the first system is operating in Burkina Faso with the potential for additional units to provide a distributed potable water supply there. The other unit is at the DC Convention Center … but should be en route to Puerto Rico at the end of the AUSA trade show rather than returning to Tova’s New Jersey offices.

Blue Sky Mast offers a path for quick restoration of telecommunications: with a suite of tactical solar systems (taking minutes to put up) and easily mounted antennas, cell phone communications could be put back into action and the equipment taken down/redeployed elsewhere when more permanent equipment is up and operating.


Rungu‘s “Electric Juggernaut LE” could enable cargo movement in difficult spaces, enabling humans to efficiently move around 200 pound loads even with road damage. A 20 mile range on electricity alone or perhaps 40-60 miles with combined pedaling & electric assist, the Juggernaut could help address mobility amid disaster relief and recovery operations.

Merrill Mobile LIfe System: Handling serious weight can be a challenge in a disaster situation like Puerto Rico. Merrill Technologies offers a system that can be moved in a standard container, mounted on two containers, to provide a quickly mounted powerful crane on a stable base. Having a moveable  6 ton crane, read to lift large loads off truck and move cargo, might just have utility in Puerto Rico. In this case, just one prototype exists and it is at the DC Convention. As with the Teva water purification system, at the end of AUSA, Merrill’s Mobile Lift System should be en route Puerto Rico (or, well, another Caribbean island) rather than back to the war house.

A conception … there is no perhaps no better environment for testing and developing early stage equipment that using it to help people in need. Amid disaster operations, the US government should be ready — no, eager — to deploy equipment like these firms’ systems along with evaluation teams to help identify lessons as to how to improve them (if that is even necessary) and how/whether/where/when such systems would be of value into the future.

Just a taste … it has been a long day … these three are far from all viable options at AUSA (or from other US military event … for more options see, for example, STAR-TIDES) … the point is that there are a myriad of options available to help Puerto Ricans today while help advancing the options to help others in the years ahead.

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Tags: Energy