Hinterland Green

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

US Navy Unveils The Hull BUG, Underwater Robot That Can Reduce Navy's Fuel Consumption

Hull BUG (Source:  US Navy)

The US Navy said barnacles and biofilms can slow ships by an average of 10% due to added drag, which can reportedly add as much as a 40% increase in fuel consumption to counteract that drag. A new underwater robot can alleviate much of those problems. The Hull BUG -- Robotic Hull Bio-inspired Underwater Grooming tool -- can clean Navy ships in the hope of reducing fuel consumption.

The  Hull BUG is a new autonomous robot that can sense where a ship is and isn't clean, and clean up soiled spots. The robot can help keep barnacles, oysters and other biofilm from settling on ship hulls and therefore reduce drag and fuel consumption.

Office of Naval Research (ONR) Program Officer Steve McElvany estimates that "the Navy will save millions of dollars per year in fuel. Using less fuel also means less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We are really trying to look very far forward to get the ultimate solution." The Navy spends an estimated $500 million annually in extra maintenance and fuel costs associated with biofouling. This is definitely a whole lot better than using toxic substances to clean these ships which are not environmentally safe.

Partners in ONR´s development of the Hull BUG include NSWCCD, SeaRobotics and the Florida Institute of Technology. Since 1946, ONR has funded revolutionary research through academia, universities, government laboratories, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and nearly 60 Nobel Laureates.
blog comments powered by Disqus