ARLINGTON, Va. — A new battery fuel cell technology shows promise in providing more power and endurance to unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) and other platforms as well as less potential for fire.
An aluminum-seawater fuel cell technology, being developed by Open Water Power of Somerville, Mass., is able to “safely store about 10 times as much energy as lithium-ion batteries,” said Dr. Tom Milnes, president and chief executive officer of Open Water Power.
Milnes’ company is developing the technology for a variety of uses for defense and commercial applications, such as UUVs and the oil and gas industry. Exploration of the technology was conducted by a joint team, of which Milnes was a member, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Open Water Power has taken the technology further from “beaker-level science,” in Milnes’ characterization, with a $450,000 in funds of from the Rapid Response Technology Office of the Defense Department, the Office of Naval Research, and the Naval Air Systems Command, delivering a developmental model of an aluminum-seawater cell to the Office of Naval Research in December.