Seatrec, Inc. recently demonstrated that instruments used for ocean exploration can be improved by pairing them with the SL1 thermal engine. The SL1 harvests energy from temperature differentials in the ocean and converts it to stored electrical energy for future use. This successful demonstration connected SL1 with a Sea-Bird Scientific Navis float.
“We found that the energy provided by our SL1 will increase float endurance and provide power for additional sensor payloads,” said Seatrec Founder and CEO Dr. Yi Chao. “This means that these important devices can use renewable ocean energy to complete their work.”
Over a period of approximately three weeks the combined Navis-SL1 float completed 42 profiles to depths ranging from 50-750 meters in the ocean northwest of Kailua, Hawaii. The field effort was successful in confirming the ability of the combined Navis-SL1 float to operate autonomously in the ocean with energy generation performance exceeding expectations.
“Unmanned underwater systems are critical instruments for ocean exploration and environmental monitoring, but require electrical power for propulsion, navigation, data collection and communications,” Chao said. “Up to now, lead-acid or lithium batteries have been used to supply this power. At Seatrec, we are developing clean technologies to harvest renewable energy from the environment.” This will result in better science by increasing the number of profiles available to a scientist on an SL1-augmented float.
The patented Seatrec technology is broadly applicable to vertically-profiling ocean instruments such as floats, gliders and profiling moorings and all will benefit from increased endurance, greater operational flexibility, and lower operations and maintenance costs. The SL1 thermal engine is now commercially available from Seatrec for integration with the Argo variant of the Sea-Bird Navis profiling float. Please contact Seatrec for further information regarding the SL1 and integration with a Navis system.