The future for underwater craft may be hydrogen

Jalvasub Engineering, a Spanish firm, which makes Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) has begun work with a number of partner on developing hydrogen and fuel cell power systems for their AUVs.

Today’s batteries are heavy and it restricts how much an AUV can travel through the water.

Jalvasub believes that it can cut the battery weight by two thirds if it uses hydrogen fuel cells.

Jalvasub intends to hold hydrogen and create it on demand in the AUV.

The advantage of this move is not just the decreased weight and increased energy capacity – it will also be less noisy, emit no carbon, and, because the technology is modular, it will be easier to maintain.

Jalvasub’s Siroco AUV will be the first test case. While similar sized AUVs can operate for 6 hours, it is estimated that the Siroco will operate for over 10 hours.

In due course it is hoped that the technology can be applied to submarines.