Infinity Fuel Cell and Hydrogen, Inc. is exploring new markets for its air-independent non-flow-through hydrogen fuel cells in the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) market.
Infinity has been developing technology for this market with funding from the US Office of Naval Research for several years. This is the next logical step to developing a commercial product.
In addition to military applications, UUVs are used extensively for commercial applications such as oil and gas exploration, underwater infrastructure inspection (cables, pipelines, etc.), scientific research and even underwater salvage. The successful 2021 discovery of the Antarctic site of Robert Shackelton’s 1915 Endurance shipwreck was carried out with the help of an unmanned underwater vehicle.
The primary advantage of hydrogen fuel cell power in larger UUVs is extending underwater time to weeks or even months. Infinity is working on one design that will enable such vehicles to run missions up to 70 days long. This eliminates the major expense of tender boats required to frequently resurface and refuel UUVs powered by other, more conventional fuels.
William F. Smith, CEO of Infinity Fuel Cell and Hydrogen, said, “A dock-launched UUV powered by Infinity’s patented air-independent hydrogen fuel cell has the potential to save its commercial sponsor hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single mission, potentially paying for itself on its first use.”