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Exide Onyx lithium ion batteries to power autonomous undersea vehicles

Posted on 10.11.2009 - 11:00 EST in AUV NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

Exide Onyx lithium ion batteries to power autonomous undersea vehiclesExide Technologies, a global leader in stored electrical-energy solutions, announces that its Onyx lithium ion batteries will serve as the power source for two autonomous undersea vehicles (AUVs), commissioned by the Canadian federal government. These research vehicles are designed for mapping the continental shelf positioned above the Arctic Ocean's underwater mountains. The results of the full-mission testing, scheduled for launch later this month, are anticipated to help provide Canadian scientists and researchers with more detailed information about the geology of the ocean floor and the extent of the northern edge of Canada's underwater bedrock.

The fully submersible AUVs are manufactured by Exide's customer International Submarine Engineering Ltd. (ISE). Vancouver, British Columbia-based ISE is a world leader in the design and development of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and robotic manipulator systems for land, subsea, and space training applications.

AUVs are underwater vehicles that can operate below the sea surface without any physical connection or communication with a control station. Pre-programmed to execute research missions, the vessels measure approximately six meters (or 20 feet) in length and weigh 1,800 kilograms (or 3,968 pounds). The battery-powered craft are ideal for underwater missions such as seabed surveying where the vehicle must cover long distances at relatively slow speeds - between 1 and 2.5 meters per second (2.2 miles per hour and 5.6 miles per hour). ISE has been involved in fully submersible AUV development since 1981.

Exide's supply of its Onyx lithium ion batteries for this pair of AUVs is an extension of an agreement that first began between Delta, British Columbia, Canada-based Mountain Power Inc. and ISE in 2005. Exide acquired the principal assets of Mountain Power in November 2008, expanding the Company's capabilities in the alternative energy sector - more specifically, the design and commercialization of high performance, large capacity rechargeable lithium ion batteries for the telecommunications, utility, industrial, medical and military markets.

Exide Onyx Lithium ion Batteries: Total Power Source for the AUVs

Exide Onyx lithium ion batteries are large capacity, lightweight lithium ion batteries that are designed for numerous stationary and motive power applications, from standard Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems to advanced applications in the military, renewable energy sector and alternative transportation markets. The Exide Onyx battery installations aboard each bright yellow AUV will serve as complete power source for the research vessels - including propulsion, navigation, electronics, data collection, and communications - throughout the undersea mapping exploration.

"Because these vessels are autonomous and completely controlled by battery-powered electronics, a reliable, continuously monitored source of energy is critical," said Jean-Marc Laframboise, Program Manager at ISE. "Exide Onyx lithium ion batteries provide precision performance under extreme conditions, allowing the AUVs to fulfill their scientific mission."

A number of features contribute to the advanced technological design and high performance of Exide Onyx lithium ion batteries. Most important is the incorporation of Exide's proprietary battery management system (BMS) that provides additional monitoring features for this proven lithium ion cell technology. The BMS consists of software and hardware that control all critical functions of the battery's operation - including remote communications - to ensure safety and reliability during operation. More specifically, the system serves to monitor voltage and current; protects the battery in the event of over-charge and over-discharge; performs state-of-charge and state-of-health calculations; performs cell balancing within the module; and is equipped with an internal memory to track operating conditions.

"Our supply of Exide Onyx batteries to ISE illustrates our new division's focus on providing technologically-advanced chemistries for applications such as industrial storage that require high energy density and cycling capacity, large-scale storage for grid-connected renewable energy, and off-grid renewable power generation and storage," said Gary Reinert, Vice President - Strategic Planning and Business Development. "Our lithium ion technology will enable these vessels to perform in the upcoming sea trials and underwater exploration in Canada."

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