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Uni develops subsea battery

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 18:36 -- Ruth Williams

Newcastle University has entered a joint project with underwater equipment manufacturer SMD to develop battery equipment for deep-sea operations. The collaboration has been awarded US$445 700 in funding from the Singapore Maritime Institute for R&D.

The project aims to design and develop a high-capacity lithium-ion battery system with a self-learning BMS that must be suitable for use at 3000m below the surface. The plan is to increase battery life by 25% to allow for longer subsea missions.

The batteries will serve remotely operated underwater robotic vehicles that are used in increasingly demanding deep-water environments that divers cannot reach. As these systems have become more reliable they are used more and more to inspect, report and monitor damage to offshore and underwater structures. The demands on the battery and power systems have also grown, greater endurance and power are needed, as well as the batteries being sufficiently robust to be used in these conditions.

Newcastle University has a flourishing School of Marine Science and Technology in Singapore offering degree courses in Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering.

SMD, based in Tyne and Wear, manufactures remote intervention equipment for working in hazardous environments, it will provide the means to trial the developing deep-water subsea vehicle systems.

The project funding is provided by the Maritime Energy Systems (MES) R&D Programme setup by the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) as part of its strategy on green technologies. A total of US$606440 has been allocated to promote research into energy usage and efficiency over the next three years.