Coupled High Efficiency Propulsion and Energy Storage System for Unmanned Surface Vehicles

Period of Performance: 06/07/2012 - 12/07/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Lynntech, Inc.
Principal Investigator


The X-class unmanned surface vehicles (USV) under development by the Navy can expand mission capabilities by conducting Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions in shallow water and riparian environments. Current state-of-the-art battery technology provides X-class USVs with ~3 hours of operational time. Additionally, the propulsion system is only efficient at one speed. A mission endurance time of at least 6 hours is needed to make USVs viable for multiple mission scenarios, and current propulsion and energy storage systems do not provide sufficient efficiency within the limited mass and volume required. In addition, the solution must also provide safe operation while being deployed or recovered from the host craft. Lynntech and their subcontractors propose to develop a fuel cell-hybrid power system coupled to a variable controlled jet pump propulsion system that allows for efficient operation over a wide range of speeds to enable long endurance USVs. During the Phase I, Lynntech will determine requirements for the power and propulsion systems, develop an initial system model, and provide evidence of system feasibility in the operating environment. During Phase II the propulsion and energy system will be integrated and tested with a X-class USV to provide a long endurance platform for the Navy.