Mobile or transportable power supply and distribution systems are needed for various types of work that require electrical power in a field or outdoor environment — such as construction and environmental remediation projects — to power tools, lights, and other devices. For many projects, this need is met by either running a power line from the nearest available power source (referred to as shore power) or through use of a generator. While generators provide a source of electrical power in a field environment, the limited number and type of electrical outlets on the generator and the preset configuration of a given generator may be insufficient for the operation.

The Mobile Power Distribution System is a containerized system that supplies electricity to outlets and switches for field operation.

In addition, some applications require redundancy in power supply sources for safety purposes; that is, at least two independent sources of electrical power are needed for these projects. This requirement could be met through a combination of a generator and shore power, or the use of two generators. An automatic transfer switch is preferably used between the two power sources to automatically transfer loads from the primary power supply to the secondary power supply in the event that the former shuts down. Given these requirements, a power distribution system is needed to link the two power sources and provide the desired arrangement of outlets, switches, and the like.

Prior art power distribution systems are available for use with a generator to provide electrical outlets, switches, and the automatic transfer function described above. These systems, however, are generally designed for a particular application, and are not as versatile and mobile as needed for other applications. What is needed is a mobile power distribution system that can be used for automatic switching between a primary and secondary power source where at least one power source is a generator, and the entire system can be transported fully assembled within a standard 20-foot intermodal (ISO) shipping container.

The Mobile Power Distribution System (MPDS) brings portable, adaptable, and dependable energy to field operations. The containerized, ruggedized system supplies electricity to a variety of outlets and switches. It enables an accessible and steady power source for equipment use such as power tools, lights, environmental controls, communications, and other devices.

Powered by a local electricity source, generators, or a combination of both, the MPDS satisfies customer field requirements. This novel system solves three key electrical generation and delivery problems experienced in remote locations: electricity failure, setup and take-down delays, and limited outlet connections and arrangements. Within one minute of primary electric source failure, the MPDS switches to a ready, secondary source. Transportable in two ISO containerized configurations, decked trailer or skid-mount, no materials or labor are lost to expensive setup or breakdown processes. The built-in transformer accommodates easily accessible high- and low-voltage outlets capable of receiving a myriad of connector configurations.

Energy redundancy and customized switching capabilities provide dependability, reduction of downtime due to outages, and safety on a remote job site. The MPDS can be used for a range of electrical sources including solar arrays, wind energy, and fuel cells.

For more information, contact Marti Elder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 406-586-7621.


Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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