Solutions were sought for the design and implementation of a multi-year effort, in the form of a testbed, to demonstrate and evaluate a variety of zero-emission grounds maintenance equipment (ZEGME). The testbed should be structured to include participation by DoD installation grounds staff, and potentially grounds maintenance service providers, to operate and maintain the demonstration equipment under typical operating conditions. The testbed program shall provide for independent third-party measurement and verification (M&V) of equipment performance and reporting on demonstration results. In addition to technology demonstrations, the program should include analyses of factors that may inform the Department’s planning for the transition to ZEGME (i.e., ZEGME market analysis, charging infrastructure requirements/logistics, battery management/recycling, etc.).
The primary objectives of the program were to facilitate transition of commercially available ZEGME into DoD operations, develop best-practices for ZEGME operations, maintenance and equipment management, and identify barriers or technology gaps that may impede the adoption of ZEGME. Proposers should have considered all factors that may affect the Department’s transition to ZEGME, to include, but not limited to:
Life cycle cost, performance, and reliability compared to fossil fuel-powered equipment.
Infrastructure and logistics required to operate and maintain the equipment. For example, battery life-cycle management, charging infrastructure, zero-emission fuel supply (i.e., hydrogen).
Impacts of regional variation of climate and vegetation on equipment performance.
Availability of zero-emission equipment.
Integration with grounds maintenance workflow.
Workforce training required to operate and to maintain the equipment.
Alternative financing and ways to leverage financial incentives or grants.
Over the course of the testbed program, ESTCP will issue solicitations for the demonstration of specific types of ZEGME, based on an initial analysis of grounds maintenance equipment inventory and analyses conducted by the testbed program. The testbed program will then manage the demonstration of the selected technologies in collaboration with its partner installation grounds maintenance staff or service provider.
Proposals submitted under this topic will follow an accelerated review process to allow time for the selected projects to go through the contracting process and conduct initial work to prepare for equipment testing in early 2024. The following timeline applies to proposals submitted under this topic only:
Efficiently evaluating and testing newly commercialized ZEGME and related technologies will help DoD installations meet the requirements for transitioning non-fleet vehicles and equipment to zero-emissions as outlined in Executive Order 14057, Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability. The demonstrated solutions will inform DoD installations in their facility assessment and planning activities of cost-effective technologies/solutions that could help address any gaps or barriers to transitioning to zero-emission equipment.
The Implementing Instructions to Executive Order 14057, issued in August 2022, require the DoD to transition its non-fleet vehicles and equipment to zero-emission models to the extent practicable as zero-emission models become available on the market. Grounds maintenance equipment, as a subset of the DoD non-fleet vehicle and equipment inventory, are required to meet this requirement. DoD’s grounds maintenance includes commercial landscaping as well as the maintenance of golf courses, ball and athletic fields, parade fields, ditches, shoulders, rights-of-way, brush, storm debris, airfield green space, fence lines, parks, cemeteries, and rangelands. These large and varied grounds maintenance requirements result in use of different types of equipment ranging from hand-held, push, and riding equipment to tractors, utility vehicles, and skid steers with various attachments and tow-behinds. The majority of this equipment is gasoline or diesel-powered, producing high levels of greenhouse gas, air, and noise pollution per unit of fuel consumed. Installations need cost-effective, commercially available technologies and solutions that can help transition all this equipment to zero-emission and reduce related DoD emissions to meet the EO requirements.