General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has demonstrated its Aluminum Power System (ALPS) for underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
The demonstration was performed at a GA-EMS test tank facility in San Diego, US.
As part of the first end-to-end demo, a submerged ALPS provided hydrogen and oxygen to a Teledyne Energy Systems fuel cell that in turn supplied electrical power to propel an ROV.
GA-EMS president Scott Forney said: “This demonstration marks a major milestone for us, illustrating for the first time that ALPS can be successfully integrated to supply hydrogen and oxygen to fuel cells to generate electrical power and drive an underwater vehicle.”
Forney noted that ALPS is a high energy density system that can deliver up to ten times the energy output of similar battery volume.
He added: “With its unlimited shelf-life, safe handling, and high energy density, ALPS can truly enable underwater ‘refuelling stations’ to support long-term underwater vehicle operations.”
The ALPS power system is designed to serve as an energy-dense, cost-efficient power source for manned and unmanned undersea vehicles.
According to GA-EMS, the system reduces safety concerns and provides a reliable power source to support long endurance missions and underwater operations.
GA-EMS Programs vice-president Rolf Ziesing said: “We view fuel cells as an important component in supporting challenging mission requirements for large UUVs and other undersea platforms.
“Prior to this demonstration, we had successfully tested ALPS using only load banks. Working in cooperation with Teledyne, we were able to integrate an end to end system and test under real-world conditions.
“The results and data gathered during the demonstration will allow us to continue testing and advance ALPS to meet future undersea platform energy requirements.”