Feeds

back to article US Navy uncloaks stealthy underwater solar cells

Scientists at the US Navy Research Laboratory (NRL) are developing solar cells that can work effectively up to nine meters underwater, powering marine systems for long periods of time. Big data is not just for the boardroom, but for the battlefield as well, and military planners are working on using a lot more stealthy sensors …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

Sneaky submersibles or even better.. Everlasting torpedoes!

0
2
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Not quite

The amount of power used versus amount captured is too great a ratio. Not to mention that the torpedo is a shoot and kill weapon so it will go boom before it runs out of juice.

As to sneaky subs... They already exist... ;-) they run on nukes.

Having said that... There are some interesting defensive weapons that could be developed...

2
0
FAIL

Hmmm....

Seeing as how useful the United States Naval Submarine Service has been in the last 11+ years of ground conflict, and how successful they have been in thwarting at-sea piracy... I think I can see where there might be some budget cuts in the future...

5
3
Silver badge

Re: Hmmm....

When sensors that can run for months or even years without having to be refueled or have their batteries replaced, there could be a swarm of sensors in pirate infested waters letting you know where your ships should be headed.

1
0

Re: Hmmm....

Not sure if there will be cuts.

It's still the only 'running silent, running deep' weapons deployment platform, for a number of missile / rocket types.

Therefore it also serves as maybe a bigger deterrent than the aircraft carriers the US uses.

The submarine might be able to go through the Strait of Hormuz - although I dunno how deep that is. Compare that to the carrier / task force going through. Juicy targets, those ships are...

But even then - mini subs or even drones going through there undetected, never having to surface only at points of insertion / retrieval?

And they're 'green'. No nasty 'nucular' fuel rods to deal with afterwards.

Intelligence-gathering bonanza...

0
0
Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Hmmm....

Great idea, but are the pirates organised enough to use them? Or perhaps they will simply re-purpose the Navy ones...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmmm....

Or they've been busy converting their subs for launching cruise missiles or for covert insertion of SEAL teams to costal areas...

I believe they've been making themselves useful recently.

0
0

Drug runners probably already have these

It's amazing what a lot of money can buy...

0
0
Trollface

It's all lies!

Doesn't anyone read the Reg!? Solar doesn't work and should be scrapped immediately. It's all heresy I tell you! They should have petrol engines, just more efficient!!!!!!111

nK

2
6

I wonder how many of the engineers developing this tech have actually spent time on the water

In a matter of days, anything that's underwater starts getting over grown with all sorts of sea life, and in months it gets covered. Unless they come up with a way of turning these solar cells completely inhospitable to the stuff that wants to grow on them, then they are wasting their time.

5
3

Re: I wonder how many of the engineers developing this tech have actually spent time on the water

Ssssh. The scientists working on this tech probably know full well there might be practical problems in the real world, but meanwhile are happy to do research while funded. Reminds me of the LASER research in the 90s (late 80s?) where the scientists involved knew full well what they were being asked for was probably impossible or impractical, but were receiving massive *weapons* funding anyways. Afaik, the project produces a lot of material mostly of use to chip manufacturing. Its seems that now too, it may have contributed to the 'flying laser' weapons too.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: I wonder how many of the engineers developing this tech have actually spent time on the water

Industry is developing ever-more-effective (and potentially environmentally-nasty) coatings to keep objects clear of marine growths.

"At present the standard antifouling coating for the US Navy consists of cuprous oxide dispersed in a mixture of natural rosin and a vinyl chloride vinyl acetate copolymer. This coating has a service life of at best 12-18 months. It is not clear how long the use of toxic antifouling coatings will be permitted to continue for the accumulation of copper and tin in the environment has already reached high levels and is becoming a burden."

Research study here: http://www2.dupont.com/Teflon_Industrial/en_US/products/product_by_name/zonyl_ptfe/zonyl_techinfo_antifouling.html

1
0
Silver badge

Re: I wonder how many of the engineers developing this tech have actually spent time on the water

There's already an anti-crap coating you can paint on seabound stuff. Search on Wired.com for the solar powered drone that's trying to cross an ocean (and doing a fair job of it.)

1
0
Silver badge
Headmaster

Pedantic self correcting update with link: The motion on the robot glider is actually wave powered - the solar cells run equipment on the drone.

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/05/wave-glider-crosses-pacific/all/1

1
0
Silver badge

Re: I wonder how many of the engineers developing this tech have actually spent time on the water

you'll need a hugely effective anti-crap coating if a blue whale decides to poo on those solar cells...

0
1

Re: I wonder how many of the engineers developing this tech have actually spent time on the water

Except it also needs to be transparent for the solar cell to work. This is a bit of a bugger when all antifouling works on the basis of a thick emulsion of toxic gunk.

0
0
Trollface

windscreen wiper

solar powered

0
0
Coat

Can they not just train existing solar cells to hold thei breath?

mines the orange ocean survival suit

1
0
FAIL

Is it me?

Am I being really dumb in thinking that there is a source of energy that is much more plentiful, and much easier to extract than solar, and it is not dependent on whether you are .9, 9, or 90 meters below the surface. The kenetic energy of the water itself?

0
0

Re: Is it me?

Tapping kinetic energy generates noise, this is generally undesirable.

0
0
Ru

Re: Is it me?

Devices designed to extract wave motion need to have a component on the surface, and are dependent on the durability of their mechanical systems.

A solar device on the other hand can be entirely solid state, and dependent only on the solar cell remaining clean enough to generate useful amount of power. Its a different tradeoff, but the solar system is much simpler, probably much cheaper and rather less easy to spot which might be important for military applications...

0
0
Silver badge
Go

My tax Dollars at work!!

Leave it to the DoD to work on a solar powered submarine!! I guess the next thing is that they really will install a screen door alongside the solar panels!

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.