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Energies 2014, 7(7), 4676-4693; doi:10.3390/en7074676

Current State of Technology of Fuel Cell Power Systems for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

1
Department of Sistemas Oceánicos y Navales, ETSI Navales, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2
Department of Arquitectura y Construcción Navales, ETSI Navales, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
This paper is based on another one that was previously presented at the 1st International e-Conference on Energies, 14–31 March 2014.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
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Abstract

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) are vehicles that are primarily used to accomplish oceanographic research data collection and auxiliary offshore tasks. At the present time, they are usually powered by lithium-ion secondary batteries, which have insufficient specific energies. In order for this technology to achieve a mature state, increased endurance is required. Fuel cell power systems have been identified as an effective means to achieve this endurance but no implementation in a commercial device has yet been realized. This paper summarizes the current state of development of the technology in this field of research. First, the most adequate type of fuel cell for this application is discussed. The prototypes and design concepts of AUVs powered by fuel cells which have been developed in the last few years are described. Possible commercial and experimental fuel cell stack options are analyzed, examining solutions adopted in the analogous aerial vehicle applications, as well as the underwater ones, to see if integration in an AUV is feasible. Current solutions in oxygen and hydrogen storage systems are overviewed and energy density is objectively compared between battery power systems and fuel cell power systems for AUVs. A couple of system configuration solutions are described including the necessary lithium-ion battery hybrid system. Finally, some closing remarks on the future of this technology are given. View Full-Text
Keywords: AUV; UUV; fuel cell; underwater vehicle; hydrogen AUV; UUV; fuel cell; underwater vehicle; hydrogen
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mendez, A.; Leo, T.J.; Herreros, M.A. Current State of Technology of Fuel Cell Power Systems for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. Energies 2014, 7, 4676-4693.

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