New breathing systems for submarines
20 September 2007
The Royal Navy and the US Navy have signed a $1million (£500,000) contract with Hamilton Sundstrand and Distributed Energy Systems corp. to develop a new type of oxygen system to make breathing easier on submarines.
The Connecticut based technology firms will co-develop electrolysis cell stacks that produce breathable oxygen within nuclear submarines. The cell stacks would be used to allow the electrolysis-based oxygen generation systems to split water into its hydrogen and oxygen elements, according to the companies. In turn this will provide better life support systems for sailors on submarines.
The Royal Navy has been keen to improve life support systems in their newer classes of submarines. With the Astute submarine now being able to circumnavigate the globe without surfacing, there is a greater emphasis on oxygen systems not only being able to manufacture oxygen from the sea at a much more frequent rate, but also reducing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from the air.
The new oxygen systems will be on submarines by the autumn of 2008.