GM And US Navy Working On Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Powered Underwater Unmanned Vehicles

Posted: Jun 25 2016, 7:04am CDT | by , Updated: Jun 25 2016, 9:00am CDT, in News | Cars & Vehicles


GM and US Navy Working on Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Powered Underwater Unmanned Vehicles
General Motors, the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory announced Thursday, June 23, 2016, they are cooperating to incorporate automotive hydrogen fuel cell systems into a next-generation of Navy unmanned undersea vehicles, or UUVs. Hydrogen fuel cells convert high-energy hydrogen efficiently into electricity, resulting in vehicles with greater range and endurance than those powered with batteries. (Office of Naval Research File Photo)
  • GM and U.S Navy collaborating for Underwater Unmanned Vehicles

Hydrogen fuel technology will be used to power underwater vehicles in the future.

GM and the U.S Navy are working in order to get the automotive hydrogen fuel cell system to use them out in the revolutionary vehicles. They are planning to bring this fuel energy to power unmanned underwater vehicles for the future. These will be of great benefit to the Navy.

The hydrogen fuel cells have the ability to convert energy into electricity. This electricity is thus of great importance as the vehicles operating on this energy have greater endurance and greater efficiency as compared to the ones having batteries only.

The vehicles that U.S Navy and General Motors are trying to build will have an endurance of 60 days. This is a huge number of efficient days for any unmanned vehicle.

This vehicle will be able to do loads of amazing stuff when the project is finished. Along with that it will be able to facilitate humans in conditions where officers won’t be able to reach. 

The Naval Research laboratory recently finalized the first grade prototype of this UUV. This vehicle is under evaluation these days. The tests were conducted in pools of Naval Surface Warfare Center in Carderock, Md.

“Our in-water experiments with an integrated prototype show that fuel cells can be game changers for autonomous underwater systems," said Frank Herr, ONR's department head for Ocean Battlespace Sensing.

"Reliability, high energy, and cost effectiveness — all brought to us via GM's partnering — are particularly important as Navy looks to use UUVs as force multipliers."

A project like this will face two challenges as hydrogen fuels tend to face two problems that are petroleum use and carbon dioxide emission. Fuel cells have the ability to operate on renewable hydrant which can be taken from wind and biomass.

Once the power is converted to electricity, the only emission we get is water vapors. The recharging of a hydrogen fuel cell takes only minutes which is a huge advantage. 

These GM fuels cells are pretty compact and light weight. These won’t hamper the movement of an UUV.

“The collaboration with the Navy leveraged what we learned in amassing more than 3 million miles of real-world experience with our Project Driveway fuel cell program,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Activities.

“Our customers will benefit from additional lessons we learn about the performance of fuel cells in non-automotive applications that will be useful in GM’s drive to offer fuel cells across consumer markets.”

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