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A techno-economic comparison of power systems for autonomous underwater vehicles

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2 Author(s)
G. E. Schubak ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Victoria Univ., BC, Canada ; D. S. Scott

This paper compares lead-acid batteries, sodium-sulfur batteries, solid polymer fuel cells and closed-cycle diesel engines for autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) applications. The service is described in terms of a parametric mission and life cycle. A generic AUV is used as a basis for comparison. Power systems are evaluated by two criteria: (1) submerged endurance capability and (2) life cycle cost. This study determines categories of service for which each power system is preferred. The solid polymer fuel cell can provide greater submerged endurance than other power systems examined. For extremely long duration AUV missions, the fuel cell is the required system, indicating a possible market niche for today's fuel cell technology. Considering cost projections for each power system, the results also show that the SPFC can become cost-competitive with conventional technologies, particularly for services characterized by high levels of utilization

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 1 )