thermal engines for underwater robots

Seatrec offers a family of thermal engines to power underwater robots, platforms and sensors in support of ocean research and national defense. Unmanned underwater systems accelerate ocean exploration and facilitate routine environmental monitoring and surveillance – but require a source of electrical power for propulsion, navigation, data collection, and communications. This power is typically supplied by potentially hazardous lithium batteries of which several tons per year are discarded at sea. As an environmentally-friendly alternative, Seatrec has developed a compact, modular thermal engine that extracts energy from the ocean’s vertical temperature gradient and converts it to electricity.

Seatrec’s first product, the SL1 Profiling Float Thermal Engine, will transform the growing array of vertically-profiling robotic probes currently deployed in the global ocean as part of an international observing network. The SL1 can dramatically extend float lifetime, enhance utility through increased profiling rates, and support energy-intensive sensors for biogeochemical and acoustical studies. The SL1 is now available for integration with profiling floats including the Argo variant of the Sea-Bird Scientific Navis Profiling Float.

Analogs of this system are under development for integration with other high-endurance undersea platforms including autonomous underwater gliders (SLG) and moored profilers (SLM). Please contact Seatrec (info@seatrec.com) for more information.

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SL1 profiling float thermal engine

During each profiling cycle the SL1 thermal engine harvests energy from the temperature difference between warm ocean surface water and cooler water at depth. This energy is made available to increase float endurance, enable more rapid profiling, or to power energy-intensive sensors such as those used for biogeochemical and acoustical studies. Multiple SL1 units can be attached to increase energy generation. A system rated to depths of 2000 m is under development.

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sLG UNDERWATER glider thermal engine

Seatrec is currently developing a thermal engine for use on several types of autonomous underwater gliders. The modular system will be capable of retrofit to existing vehicles with minimal changes to existing vehicle architecture or sensor payload, and will dramatically increase endurance while decreasing operations and maintenance costs.

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specifications

Length 153.7 cm
Diameter 17.3 cm
Weight (air) 30.2 kg
Weight (submerged) neutrally buoyant
Max Operating Depth 1000 m
Energy Generation 8 kJ (2.2 Wh) per cycle
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preliminary Specifications

Length 183 cm (approximate)
Weight (air) TBD
Weight (submerged) neutrally buoyant
Max Operating Depth 1000 m
Energy Generation 20 kJ per cycle (approximate)

The SL1 Thermal Engine is now available for integration with profiling floats including the Sea-Bird Scientific Navis Profiling Float

contact seatrec (info@seatrec.com) for more information

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