Submersible/UUV Power System

Underwater vehicles operating in remote conditions are challenging to refuel or recharge, limiting the use of such vehicles for long-range missions such as search and rescue operations and long-duration oceanographic studies.

Aluminum, an abundant and inexpensive metal, is energy dense and reactive with water, making it an attractive fuel source. For an underwater application, aluminum is an even more attractive because it does not discharge over time like a lithium ion battery.

Previous 2.013 and 2.014 projects have explored marine power applications over a variety of size scales and form factors, ranging from Remus AUVs to Lilypads docks to oil drums (Fall 2015).

We are currently evaluating two different systems, an internal combustion engine that runs off the hydrogen created by reacting aluminum fuel with water and an aluminum-air battery.

Students with the following interests and skills should consider joining the UUV power team for 2.014:

  • Ocean engineering
  • Thermal fluids engineering
  • Engines and combustion
  • Electronics
  • Electrochemistry
  • Spatially-constrained design
  • System integration
  • Communication and documentation