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This paper describes a hypothetical seawater-breathing autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) energy system based on the reaction of powdered aluminum. The reaction of aluminum with seawater offers improvement in energy density that will revolutionize long duration underwater operation. Although the system is hypothetical, the critical components are currently undergoing active engineering research and development. Consequently, this paper also describes in more detail the critical components of the system. The technical maturity level of this component development suggests that the development of a next-generation aluminum-seawater combustion system for AUV applications is feasible.
Date of Conference: 2002