Powering undersea exploration

AJOINT project between Newcastle University and subsea equipment manufacturer SMD to develop cutting edge battery technology has won key funding for work in Singapore.

AJOINT project between Newcastle University and subsea equipment manufacturer SMD to develop cutting edge battery technology has won key funding for work in Singapore.

The bid for R&D cash from the Singapore Maritime Institute has been successfully rewarded with £294,000 over three years.

The project, to develop a new high performance lithium-ion battery power system designed for use in long endurance deep sea operations will be led by Dr Cheng Siong Chin, Professor Ehsan Mesbahi, Dean in Singapore and Dr Junbo Jia from the Clean Energy Research Centre at Singapore's Temasek Polytechnic.

The team plan to design and develop an intelligent, self-learning battery management system to increase battery life by 25% whilst delivering higher power capacity. The batteries will be able to function up to 3,000m below the surface, permitting subsea operations for longer and with more efficiency.

The applications the technology could be used for include; underwater robotic vehicles, offshore oil rig platform monitoring, deep ocean surveys in preparation for oil fields, subsea systems inspection, maritime energy storage systems and environmental surveying.

SMD will aid the research by providing a real life application for the system and conducting trials on their deep water subsea vehicle systems.

Professor Nick Wright, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, at Newcastle University described the award as fantastic news.

He said: “Newcastle University and SMD have a long history of working together and our excellent relationship has now extended to both organisations' operations in Singapore. This project will drive academic knowledge as well as push the boundaries of where the technology can take us, so this extra funding is very welcome.”

Dr Mahesh Menon, SMD's R&D Manager, commented: “It's very positive to see research funding being recognised as important for the industry. We are delighted to secure another collaborative R&D project to further strengthen the relationship between SMD and Newcastle University. This technology is of great significance in today's market and financial environment. On-board deep water power systems are key to ensuring we can continue to offer the most reliable, cost-effective vehicle systems in the world.”

Newcastle University has a flourishing School of Marine Science and Technology in Singapore offering degree courses in Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering.

SMD, based in Wallsend, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of remote intervention equipment, working in hazardous environments worldwide. SMD operate a regional office in Singapore providing sales, technical support, spare parts holding and training to a wide range of customers across Asia.

The project funding has been provided by the Maritime Energy Systems (MES) R&D Programme setup by the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) as part of its strategy on green technologies. A total research grant of £4million over three years has been allocated to promote research into the management of energy usage and efficiency in the maritime sector.

ABOUT SMD

SMD is one of the world's leading manufacturers of remote intervention equipment, working in hazardous environments worldwide.

The product portfolio includes the world's largest range of subsea remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) as well as marine renewable energy devices, subsea installation technologies and submerged mining equipment.

Customers span a range of sectors from energy to telecoms, mining, naval / military and scientific communities. For more information visit www.smd.co.uk.

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