Integrated and Autonomous Distressed Submarine Decompression System Utilizing Seawater Flooded Scroll Compressor Technology
Navy SBIR FY2018.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2018.1
Topic No.: N181-047
Topic Title: Integrated and Autonomous Distressed Submarine Decompression System Utilizing Seawater Flooded Scroll Compressor Technology
Proposal No.: N181-047-0196
Firm: Air Squared Inc.
510 Burbank St.
Broomfield, Colorado 80020
Contact: John Wilson
Phone: (303) 466-2669
Web Site:
Abstract: The US Navy has determined that the ability to decompress distressed submarines (DISSUB) before crewmembers are rescued could improve the survival rate. For various reasons, itƒ?Ts likely that a DISSUB that ends up on the bottom of the ocean will have an internal pressure above 1 atm. If decompression of the DISSUB can be achieved before the crewmembers are rescued, this can significantly decrease, decompression requirements and the risk of oxygen toxicity, nitrogen narcosis, and decompression sickness. To achieve this, Air Squared is proposing the development of a Seawater Flooded Scroll Compressor with a Tribrid Power system (SFSC-TP). The seawater flooded scroll compression system, will utilize sea water, to seal, lubricate and cool the compression process, in order to compress the DISSUB internal atmosphere and discharge it external to the DISSUB. The SFSC-TP will be autonomously powered independent of the shipboard electrical power through the use of three sources, this includes stored energy in the shipƒ?Ts high-pressure air banks using a scroll air expander, seawater pressure using a scroll hydro turbine, and a self-contained battery. This will allow the SFSC-TP to deliver a comprehensive solution which can provide maximum decompression depending on available power sources, DISSUB depth, and decompression volume.
Benefits: Designed both robust and redundant, the SFSC-TPƒ?Ts added level of safety and security would make a standard installation on all human occupant deep-sea vehicle. Due to its tri-bred functionality, the SFSC-TP may be integrated into new submarine design or retrofitted on older models. This flexibility opens up a market for virtually every operation submarine, assuming they operate under the United States or its Allies. Therefore, Air Squared has identified the United State Navyƒ?Ts fleet of submarines as the target market for the SFSC-TP and, pending successful development and adoption, follow on integration into the submarine fleets of Americaƒ?Ts Allies. The US Navy currently deploys a fleet of 308 ships across the world that include 54 attack submarines, 4 cruise missile submarines, and 14 ballistic missile submarines. According to the Navyƒ?Ts 30-year budgeting forecast, the 30 strong existing Los Angeles Class attack submarines are to be replaced with modern next generation Virginia Class attack submarines. Air Squared would initially target these 30 newly constructed submarines for Navy integration. After a successful Phase II prototype was adopted by the Navy and the SFSC-TP was installed and proven on the Virginia Class submarines, depending on how many older models were maintained by the Navy, Air Squared would expect to see their market grow to the remaining 72 active duty submarines, approximately doubling the opportunity. Finally, as the SFSC-TP became the state of the art in DISSUB crew safety, a larger worldwide market would be available for integration, within the restrictions of US National Security interest and Air Squared would expect the number of SFSC-TP order to at least double again. Of the four key components of the SFSC-TP, three would be commercialized independently, the liquid flooded scroll compressor, scroll hydro turbine, and air expander. Already under development in partnership with PNNL, the liquid flooded scroll compressor is applicable to the growing fuel cell market as a submerged fuel cell cooling system. The water injected scroll cools the entire system, passively increasing efficiency. Initially conceived as an alternative energy source for the Army, the scroll hydro turbine may be marketed similar to an impeller in microturbine hydropower systems, boosting the flow rate of the water along the head and increasing ultimate power recovery. Finally, the Air expander too may be commercialized in the renewable energy market as a battery running on stored compressed air instead of fuel cells or large batteries. Depending on the amount of compressed air stored and the size of the air expander, an air expander battery may deliver several kilowatt hours of on-demand electricity.