Celebrating our Commitment to Green Energy: Earth Day 2021

Article by Jennifer Oliver |   April 22, 2021

Martin Defense Group (MDG) is celebrating Earth Day 2021 by reflecting on our programs – past, present, and future – that contribute to better research or application of green energy. Headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, MDG’s connection to the ocean and the planet is undeniable – the company actively seeks projects that harvest, improve efficiency, or employ renewable energy sources, while at the same time, working to find better more efficient ways to clean-up our oceans. A sample of past and current projects include:

  • – Innovation and efficiency in hull design.
  • – Improved electric propulsion systems.
  • – Inflatable technology with flexible solar panels for at-sea renewable energy.
  • – Using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) to calculate accelerated speeds which oil booms can identify, collect and store oil spills.
  • – OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) and WEC (Wave Energy Conversion) design research and utility-scale power storage design research.
Pictured above is MDG’s Applied Engineering division (located at Pier 24 in Hawaii). This shipyard facility on an independent microgrid that is powered by a solar canopy and Tesla batteries.

“MDG is known for its innovative research and prototyping approach to solve national problem sets. Our commitment to problems impacting the nation has led us to think about how our work can benefit the environment. Whether its rapidly deployable solar arrays, electric propulsion, or energy harvesting, we welcome the opportunity to dig into green energy solutions,” said Priya Hicks, SVP of Engineering for MDG.

Last year, a team of MDG Hawaii engineers won the Ocean Observing Prize DISCOVER competition, with a submission that integrated a rapidly installed breakwater (RIB) structure into an attenuating wave energy converter (WEC) that would generate power for UUV (unmanned underwater vehicles) charging while simultaneously creating a sheltered area for improved surface docking.

“As I work on specific contracts, I always try my best to apply a renewable energy approach – when applicable – as a solution. A lot of the things we end up building are made for the ocean, so it is natural to look around at the natural environment – the sun, wind, or ocean currents for alternative sources of energy,” said Patrick Montolio, Mechanical Engineer, MDG (a teammate of the winning submission to the Ocean Observing Prize DISCOVER competition).

More recently MDG held a crowdsourcing event that generated nearly 20 entries of ideas on future projects. The MDG leadership team chose three projects, two of which included green energy solutions: an inflatable solar array that would serve as charging station in a maritime environment and an electric hybrid emergency response vehicle during catastrophic events.

“Many of our current employees are passionate about green technology, and we recognize this field will be a priority for the engineers of tomorrow. Being a leader in green energy not only helps our customers, but it also helps us to provide meaningful, innovative project opportunities to our employees,” said Karen Ernst, SVP of Talent and Culture, MDG.

Eric Schiff, SVP of Operations and Administration also shared that “while Earth Day is only one day in April, we encourage our employees to find environmentally friendly solutions every day – both for our customers and within our own operations. We are proud of our deep connection to the ocean and see a bright future in the green engineering solutions of tomorrow.”