Unmanned Aerial System with Infinite Energy Scavenging
Navy STTR 2019.A - Topic N19A-T019
ONR - Mr. Steve Sullivan - email@example.com
Opens: January 8, 2019 - Closes: February 6, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: USMC
Expeditionary Energy Office
OBJECTIVE: Develop the means
to recharge battery-operated micro and small unmanned aerial systems by
harvesting energy from the battlefield, eliminating the need for the systems to
return to base.
DESCRIPTION: The employment
of micro (µ-) and small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) is expected to dramatically
increase over the next decade. These µ- and sUAS are anticipated to be
battery-operated and capable of short-duration missions, for example up to 25
km distance and 30 minutes of flight, with operational capabilities increasing
as battery technology improves. The infrastructure to manage a future fleet of
sUAS in the field under austere conditions may be daunting considering the
magnitude of battery recharging needs. It is also desirable to simultaneously
increase mission duration and persistence; therefore, the ability to scavenge
power directly from the battlefield would be an important military technology
with other dual-use civilian applications. To that end, harvesting energy that
would otherwise be wasted from the environment to power µ- and sUAS is an
attractive option because much of the fuel that is required for batteries,
supercapacitors, and fuel-cells need not be always stored on the device. The
types of energy harvesting that fall into this category are broad, and include
vibrational energy, simple mechanical energy, and electromagnetic energy.
Sources of electromagnetic energy that is abundant and available for harvesting
and conversion include high-voltage substations, transformers, and alternating
current transmission line (i.e., power lines). High-voltage (500 kV)
substations generate AC electric field strengths that approach 18 kV m–1, and
magnetic flux densities that can approach 10µTrms, which could produce a power
density >100µW cm–3, which is comparable to solar panels operating on a
cloudy day. Alternatively, allowing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to “dock”
on a power line in an urban environment, scavenging magnetic energy as a means
to trickle-charge its onboard batteries prior to mission continuation, could
provide significant tactical benefits. If the energy scavenging source is
collocated at the mission area, full mission persistence might be achieved and
the µ- and sUAS may never need to return to base. In addition to battery
recharging is the increased demand of distributed sensing and communication.
The same technological examples described above can be extended to the
strategic placement and powering of wireless sensor nodes on the battlefield.
Further, other energy modes are ripe for harvesting in the environment of, for
example, an electrical transformer, including vibrational, thermal, and
acoustic energy. Piezoelectric nanogenerators are one such technology that has
been shown to convert small mechanical fluctuations and vibrations into
electric energy, and can generate the magnitude of power (10–100s µW) required
for these wireless sensor nodes [Refs 2, 4, 5].
PHASE I: Define and develop a
concept/approach to recharge a µ- or sUAS in the field without having to return
to base. Conduct modeling and simulation and/or calculations to justify the
feasibility of this energy harvesting concept in both pass and active mode.
Preliminary environmental conditions to be considered include altitude, wind
speed, humidity, and weather. Describe in detail the energy harvesting system
design and proposed energy output and feasible battery size and recharge time,
targeting a total recharge time =12 h. Develop a Phase II plan. The Phase I
Option, if exercised, could include a sub-scale, lower fidelity, laboratory
PHASE II: Develop,
demonstrate, and validate the energy harvesting concepts in a laboratory or
outdoor environment. The prototype should be delivered with a down-selected
dimension and associated battery size; the prototype will be paired with an
appropriately sized existing µ- and/or sUAS for testing. The prototype should
be delivered at the end of Phase II, ready to be flown by the Government once
paired with a target µ- and/or sUAS. Document final prototype design and
vendor test results.
PHASE III DUAL USE
APPLICATIONS: Produce full-scale prototypes consistent with Program of Record
needs and private sector transition of the technology. Successful demonstration
of harvesting technology extends to the commercial sector in the fields of
adaptable, wireless battery recharge and wireless sensor nodes.
1. Marshall, P. T. “Power
Line Sentry Charging.” U.S. Patent 7,318,564 B1 (Issued 15 Jan 2008)
2. Hu, Youfan and Wang, Z. L.
“Recent progress in piezoelectric nanogenerators as a sustainable power source
in self-powered systems and active sensors.” Nano Energy, 14, 2015, 3–14.
3. Roundy, S., Wright, P. K.,
and Rabaey, J. “A study of low level vibrations as a power source for wireless
sensor nodes.” Computer Communications, 26, 2003, 1131–1144.
4. Green, C., Moss, K. M.,
and Bryant, R. G. “Scavenging Energy From Piezoelectric Materials for Wireless
Sensor Applications.” Proc. Of the IMECE2005, 2005, Orlando, Florida, USA.
5. Yuan, S., Huang, Y., Xu,
Q., Song, C., and Thompson, P. “Magnetic Field Energy Harvesting Under Overhead
Powerlines.” IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, November 2015.
KEYWORDS: Energy Harvesting;
Energy Scavenging; UAS; Unmanned Aerial Systems; Battery Recharging