Canadian firm Corvus Energy’s lithium-polymer energy storage system will partly power Boeing’s new unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs), which can remain at sea for months rather than days.
The new Echo Voyagers are part of Boeing’s research and development division, Phantom Works, which already has the Echo Seeker and the Echo Ranger.
Unlike these UUVs, however, which have to be recharged by a surface ship every few days, the new Echo Voyager can remain at sea for months thanks to its hybrid rechargeable power system.
This works by powering the Echo Voyager for a few days before automatically switching to an onboard diesel generator to recharge the batteries.
“Echo Voyager can collect data while at sea, rise to the surface, and provide information back to users in a near real-time environment,” said Lance Towers, director, Sea & Land, Boeing Phantom Works.
“Existing UUVs require a surface ship and crew for day-to-day operations. Echo Voyager eliminates that need and associated costs.”
Corvus’ industrial lithium-ion batteries are used in the maritime industry, in ferries, tugs, offshore supply vessels and port cranes.
Echo Voyager will undergo sea trials this summer. Future missions could include scientific, military or oil and gas exploration.