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Robotics NASA Power Hardware Science Technology

Underwater Robot Powered By Ocean's Thermal Energy 40

separsons writes "A team of scientists recently created the world's first underwater robotic vehicle powered entirely by renewable ocean thermal energy. Researchers from NASA, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the US Navy developed Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangrian Observer Thermal RECharging (SOLO-TREC), an autonomous robot that runs on a thermal recharging engine. The engine derives power from the natural temperature differences found at varying ocean depths. SOLO-TREC produces about 1.7 watts of power each dive, enough to juice the robot's science instruments, GPS receiver, communication device, and buoyancy control pump. SOLO-TREC is poised to revolutionize ocean monitoring; previous robots could spend only a limited amount of time underwater because of depleting power sources. SOLO-TREC can stay beneath the surface of the waves for indefinite amounts of time. Based on SOLO-TREC's success, NASA and the US Navy plan to incorporate thermal recharging engines in next-generation submersibles."
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Underwater Robot Powered By Ocean's Thermal Energy

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  • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @11:48AM (#31799972) Homepage

    I wonder...with the temperatures in the deep quite predictable, likewise at the surface in targeted time period and location, perhaps underwater glider with buoyancy control via passive mass having "weird" thermal expansion properties would be also feasible? Who knows if worthwhile though, with less precision and need for control pump anyway, for surfacing...

  • GPS? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:05PM (#31800054)

    Hm? Underwater GPS receiver? I am quite sure that the readio signals from the satellites do not pass through water....
    Did I miss something?

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