Electrochem’s non-rechargeable lithium batteries recently helped achieve a historic milestone, powering a Slocum Glider operated by Rutgers University students and developed by Teledyne Webb Research traveling beneath the waves for 221 days on the first unmanned underwater transatlantic crossing of a robotic ocean glider. The momentous event was recently profiled in Popular Science magazine as the drone was recovered in Spain after launching on April 27, 2009, off the coast of New Jersey.
Electrochem's non-rechargeable lithium batteries were chosen to power the data collection features of the RU27, nicknamed the Scarlet Knight for Rutgers' sports teams, due to the product's exceptional performance in extreme temperature environments. The critical data collected during the mission will be provided back to the Navy for validation of ocean forecast models.
Shallow gliders have conventionally been flown with alkaline battery packs. The Rutgers team identified as one of their mission goals to assess whether the same shallow gliders could be outfitted with more powerful lithium batteries traditionally used by the deep ocean gliders, to thus enable a new class of long-duration gliders. Electrochem's proprietary battery technology allows for reliable power at severe highs and low temperature, demonstrated in applications such as musher-tracking devices for Alaska's Iditarod contestants as well as downhole oil drilling tools barreling into the earth's hot core.
Reliable battery power was of the utmost importance to this mission, eliminating the possibility of a dead battery in the midst of the underwater voyage. Electrochem's lithium batteries offer extremely high energy density and very long life in applications such as unmanned deep gliders. Additionally, new glider components are being tested and improved based on this flight. Most notable are the Electrochem lithium batteries which are being tested for their ability to accommodate new high power sensors to support NOAA missions as part of a National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) project.
The RU27 officially claimed its transatlantic record on November 14 after 201 days at sea, but continued to travel another 20 before being recovered off Baiona, Spain. In total, the ocean glider's journey was 4,591 miles at the slow but steady pace of 4 centimeters per second.
More on The Scarlet Knight's Transatlantic Challenge can be found at: http://rucool.marine.rutgers.edu/atlantic/