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  • Investigation of Steam Adsorption Chillers to Modernize Existing Central Steam Plant Systems

    Abstract: This report investigates the integration of steam adsorption chillers as a modernization strategy for conventional central steam plant systems. Our objective is to assess the feasibility, advantages, and challenges of incorporating steam adsorption chillers into existing steam plant setups to enhance energy efficiency and cooling capabilities. Central steam plant systems have historically been used for steam-based heating but often lack cooling capabilities, necessitating additional cooling infrastructure. Steam adsorption chillers offer a potential solution by using waste steam for cooling, optimizing energy utilization and reducing reliance on traditional cooling methods. Through a comprehensive analysis, this report evaluates the technical compatibility and potential cost implications of implementing steam adsorption chillers. It explores factors such as system integration, operational dynamics, and maintenance requirements to provide a holistic view of the feasibility and benefits of this modernization approach. The findings aim to offer valuable insights to decision-makers and Army facility managers seeking innovative ways to upgrade central steam plant systems. By considering the technical and economic aspects of adopting steam adsorption chillers, this report contributes to the knowledge base for sustainable and efficient energy utilization in central plant operations.
  • Rotorcraft Resupply Site Selection (RRSS) v1.0 and the USACE Model Interface Platform (UMIP): Documentation and User’s Guide

    Abstract: This research effort aimed to create an operational prototype of the Geomorphic Oscillation Assessment Tool (GOAT) v1.0, developed by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, as a part of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Model Interface Platform (UMIP). This platform is a web-based software that allows for easy and rapid construction and deployment of spatial planning and analysis capabilities. The prototype tool in UMIP represents the science embedded in GOAT while providing a user-friendly interface for interaction and spatially referenced result viewing. It also includes user access control, data storage, and integration with a long-term data management system, enabling users to access, share, and interrogate past analyses through profile management and result persistence. The prototype tool incorporates surface roughness into terrain suitability assessment tools used in the forward arming and refueling point (FARP) site-selection process.
  • Advancing Engineering With Nature Initiatives in Point Hope, Alaska

    Purpose: Growing environmental risk threatens communities in cold regions, particularly as climate change contributes to permafrost thaw, a reduction in sea-ice extent, and some of the largest rates of coastal erosion on earth. In the context of these significant and growing risks, the Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) program formed its cold regions work unit in 2021 to explore the potential to apply EWN approaches in these areas to mitigate environmental risk while supporting resilient outcomes. The work unit’s objectives include working with communities to preserve the natural environment and traditions, advancing the work unit’s understanding of cold-region environments, and providing guidance on the implementation of natural and nature-based features (NNBF) and EWN in cold regions to increase resilience. This technical note (TN) provides an overview of the EWN in cold regions technical approach as applied to Point Hope, Alaska, which includes community engagement, the integration of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) throughout the project, and the development of cold-regions-specific knowledge and tools.
  • AI on Digital Twin of Facility Captured by Reality Scans

    Abstract: The power of artificial intelligence (AI) coupled with optimization algorithms can be linked to data-rich digital twin models to perform predictive analysis to make better informed decisions about installation operations and quality of life for the warfighters. In the current research, we developed AI connected lifecycle building information models through the creation of a data informed smart digital twin of one of US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) buildings as our test case. Digital twin (DT) technology involves creating a virtual representation of a physical entity. Digital twin is created by digitalizing data collected through sensors, powered by machine learning (ML) algorithms, and are continuously learning systems. The exponential advance in digital technologies enables facility spaces to be fully and richly modeled in three dimensions and can be brought together in virtual space. Coupled with advancement in reinforcement learning and computer graphics enables AI agents to learn visual navigation and interaction with objects. We have used Habitat AI 2.0 to train an embodied agent in immersive 3D photorealistic environment. The embodied agent interacts with a 3D environment by receiving RGB, depth and semantically segmented views of the environment and taking navigational actions and interacts with the objects in the 3D space. Instead of training the robots in physical world we are training embodied agents in simulated 3D space. While humans are superior at critical thinking, creativity, and managing people, whereas robots are superior at coping with harsh environments and performing highly repetitive work. Training robots in controlled simulated world is faster and can increase their surveillance, reliability, efficiency, and survivability in physical space.
  • Environmental Monitoring of Munitions Constituents During a Demonstration of the Underwater Cut-and-Capture System Demilitarization Technology

    PURPOSE: The presence of underwater military munitions (UWMM) in aquatic environments may present explosive blast risks and potentially affect the environment because of the release of munitions constituents (MC). Therefore, in situ demilitarization of UWMM is highly desirable. This technical note presents the results of environmental monitoring measuring water and sediment contamination resulting from the demonstration of an in situ technology that uses high-pressure water jets to render UWMM safe.
  • Leveraging MOVEit for Object Inspection in Simulation

    Abstract: Herein we evaluate using a robotic arm with an attached camera to investigate objects of interest in simulation. Specifically, a Husky unmanned ground vehicle with a Panda Powertool was used in the simulation. The code enabled an operator to initiate a preconfigured set of motions when an object of interest was identified. The scan was stored in a database file that was used to generate a 3D mesh of the scanned object. The report describes both setting up the simulation and the code used to scan objects of interest.
  • Increasing the Degrees of Freedom on a Robot Arm

    Abstract: This report provides an implementation of the moveit-commander Python module to generate trajectories for custom six– and seven–degrees of freedom (DoF) arms. The moveit_setup_assistant package was used to modify an existing five-DoF OpenManipulator-X model to increase its range of motion. Specifically, additional joints were fabricated and mounted to the physical arm. Also, the Unified Robot Description Format files were modified to account for the additional joints. In order to optimize the solvers, many changes to the MOVEit configuration files were made. The changes documented in this report lay the groundwork for leveraging MOVEit to expand the capabilities of low-DoF arms.
  • Integrating MOVEit Motion Constraints on a Novel Robotic Manipulator

    Abstract: MOVEit, a widely used Robot Operating System framework, plans composite tasks, where the high-level sequence of actions is fixed and known in advance. However, these tasks need to be tailored and adapted to the environmental context. This framework uses custom trajectory planners, known as controllers, to solve goals that are fully defined within the configuration space. Libraries, such as the Open Motion Planning Library, provide a collection of motion planners that can solve task-space goals. An exact spatial and joint replication of the robotic manipulator’s mechanics, typically Universal Robot Description Format and Semantic Robot Description Format files, is required. Common arms such as the Panda-Manipulator and OpenMANIPULATOR-X provide these files in their respective public repositories, but custom arms require significant modification or even a complete rewrite of these files.
  • Fort Riley German POW Stonework Historic Context and National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) Evaluation

    Abstract: This project provides a historic context for the German prisoner-of-war (POW) experience at Fort Riley, Kansas, and an inventory of stonework features constructed using POW labor during World War II (WWII). The purpose of this historic context and inventory is to determine the stone-work’s eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Based on the historic context and inventory, researchers for this project have determined that there is a potential noncontiguous historic district at Fort Riley. This “German POW Stonework Historic District” at Fort Riley is composed of three linear segments: one concentrated around a stone drainage ditch at Camp Forsyth, one concentrated on a series of stone check dams at Camp Whitside, and one concentrated on a stone levee ditch and culvert at Camp Funston. Additionally, researchers have determined that 12 additional stonework features outside the proposed historic district boundaries are potentially eligible for the NRHP. These include a stone vehicular culvert at Camp Forsyth and four drainage gutters within Fort Riley’s main cantonment
  • A Method for Evaluating Automatic Identification System (AIS) Coverage on Select Inland Waterways in 2020 and 2021: Upper Mississippi River, Illinois River, and Ohio River

    Abstract: The Automatic Identification System (AIS) shares vessel position information for navigational safety purposes. AIS broadcasts are received by other ships and terrestrial stations; however, in some areas there is no, or low, terrestrial station coverage to receive broadcasts. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) developed an Online Travel Time Atlas (OTTA) to process AIS data and derive a transit count. This study examined OTTA output from 2020 and 2021 to identify areas of high or low AIS coverage along the Upper Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio Rivers. Segments with a yearly average of two or more transit per day were classified as high coverage, those with less than a yearly average of two transits per day were classified as low coverage. Rivers were segmented using the USACE National Channel Framework reach boundaries. Results based on calculated vessel transits were as follows: Upper Mississippi River: 837.4 miles (98%) had high coverage, with 17.4 miles (2%) of low coverage; Illinois River: 190.5 miles (59%) had high AIS coverage, and 133 miles (41%) had low AIS coverage; Ohio River: 644 miles (66%) had high coverage, and 337 miles (34%) had low coverage. AIS coverage could be improved by raising antennae heights, installing repeater equipment, or adding towers.