Undersea Energy Harvesting from Benthic Gas Seeps and Hydrates
Navy SBIR 2019.1 - Topic N191-044
ONR - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis - firstname.lastname@example.org
Opens: January 8, 2019 - Closes: February 6, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)
AREA(S): Battlespace, Ground/Sea Vehicles, Materials/Processes
PROGRAM: Multiple program offices have interest in undersea energy harvesting.
technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in
Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and
import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive
technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts
730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use
of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or
work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for
accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement.
Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be
restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.
Determine the potential for seabed methane seeps and hydrates to enable
operational endurance, maneuverability, efficiency, and resiliency for
sustained operations supporting undersea systems.
Prior research has focused on investigating benthic seep and hydrate
characteristics (chemical makeup, flow, etc.), understanding associated
biological lifeforms, and prediction of benthic seep and hydrate locations
[Refs 5-11]. Lacking is any substantive research into the potential for these
energy resources to serve as sources for seabed energy conversion/storage for
operational use. The Navy is currently pursuing development of technology to
convert energy from seafloor hydrothermal vents and is conducting research in
the area of seafloor microbial fuel cells. There are also prior and ongoing
efforts to harvest energy from tidal and wave energy, as well as Ocean Thermal
to Electric Conversion. This SBIR topic, by contrast, seeks to develop
technologies to harvest, store, and utilize methane and other gases from
benthic gas seeps and hydrates for seabed electric power production. Continuous
kilowatt-scale electrical output from a single device is of interest. The
design should take into consideration potential fouling of the system, a
desired system lifetime of 2 years (without maintenance), the depth ranges for
seeps and hydrates, and ease/practicality of system deployment. Minimizing
system and deployment costs is important. It is critical to understand the
biological and geological environment near benthic seeps and hydrates such that
compatible technologies are pursued and ultimately developed and fielded.
I: Develop energy conversion concepts that involve the capture, storage,
processing, and conversion of benthic gas seeps to electrical power output.
Develop a concept of operation that covers the deployment platform, deployment
methodology, and approach to minimizing cost and risk. Perform modeling,
simulation, and experimentation as necessary to demonstrate conceptual
feasibility. Address scalability of the concept above and below the kilowatt
level. Develop targets for system and deployment costs per kilowatt electrical
output. Identify the relevant environmental considerations involved in
deploying and operating such systems on the seabed. Ensure conceptual designs
have minimal impact on the marine environment. Prepare a Phase II plan.
II: Develop a prototype kilowatt-scale benthic gas power system and deployment
methodology. Demonstrate the ability to deploy the power system onto a benthic
gas seep utilizing the intended platform from the Phase I concept of operation.
Demonstrate the ability to produce kilowatt-scale electrical power from the
III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Further develop the Phase II design for a specific
Navy undersea system application. Demonstrate the ability to autonomously
locate a benthic seep/plume, and operationally deploy a complete benthic gas
power system and undersea asset with minimal impact on the marine environment.
Demonstrate the ability to power an undersea system over a significant period
of time to validate the ability to fulfill a Naval mission.
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Methanogenesis; Benthic; Methane Seep; Methane Hydrate; Power; Energy; Energy
Harvesting; Seabed; Sea Bed