AUV Power Subsystem 2013
Fall 2012 – Spring 2013
The investigation and development of an aluminum-seawater reaction engine for Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (AUV). The approach used the hydrogen gas released in the aluminum-water reaction together with oxygen from the disassociation of sodium chlorate to drive a commerical fuel cell. The class also developed another method that directly converts the chemical energy in the aluminum-water reaction into electricity. For an article about this course, click here.
During the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 semesters undergraduate students and one graduate research assistant designed and developed a prototype engine that uses the energy released when aluminum reacts with water. Hydrogen generated from the aluminum-water reaction, together with oxygen from the dissociation of sodium chlorate, are fed into a commercial fuel cell. The system recharges AUV batteries while submerged and extends vehicle endurance by a factor of ten.