Unmanned Surface Vehicle Generator/Fuel Storage Interface Design

Photo of Simon Arends, Taylor Boeker, Julian Perkins, Steven Trudeau Students: Simon Arends, Taylor Boeker, Julian Perkins, Steven Trudeau

Sponsor: Trident Research

Date: Spring 2013

Requirements:
The main requirement for this project is to keep the proposed generator running while the USV is operating in the ocean. The generator should operate at full load for a minimum of 24 hours.The system should be waterproof, corrosion resistant, and maintain a reasonable temperature. The USV should be deployable and recoverable in sea state 4 and withstand a fall of 3 meters high into the water. It should also be operable and functional in sea state 6 and survive sea state 8. The USV should have a maximum speed of 4 knots. Finally, the compressed natural gas used to fuel the generator, must be depressurized to atmospheric pressure before entering the generator.

Problem:
Design interfaces within an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) between the generator and its payload so that the USV can operate between sea-states 4 through 8.

Solution:
There are six design recommendations made to address the problem statement. A uni-directional snorkel design protruding from the top of the USV provides fresh air intake for the generator and its enclosure. The exhaust piping and chimney are designed to protrude through the top of the USV on the opposite side of the air intake to prevent heat transfer to the USV's onboard technologies. Impact resistance is provided by a gap between the hull and a surrounding shell, where the gap is filled with metal foam absorbs impact and is conductive enough to promote the heat transfer from the enclosure. CNG conversion components are recommended the gas from high storage pressure to the lower pressure required by the generator. Corrosion-resistant power connectors are recommended to interface with the generator and the onboard technologies.

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