Title:
Integrated marine vessel hull for energy storage
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hull structure is provided for a marine vessel having an inner hull and an outer hull. An energy storage device is provided between the inner hull and outer hull. The energy storage device has one or more hollow tubes, or has a honeycomb structure. Hydrogen or oxygen can be stored and placed within the hollow tubes or honeycomb structure. A metal hydride, or liquid hydrogen or compressed hydrogen gas, as well as liquid oxygen or compressed oxygen gas can also be stored inside the hollow tubes or honeycomb structure. The dual use of the hull structure provides for an energy storage apparatus and propulsion generation system that conserves space within the marine vessel, and adds less weight to the marine vessel.



Inventors:
Durling, Michael (Moreau, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/100892
Publication Date:
10/12/2006
Filing Date:
04/07/2005
Assignee:
Lockheed Martin Corporation (Bethesda, MD, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63H21/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VASUDEVA, AJAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Paul J. Esatto, Jr. (Garden City, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A marine vessel comprising: a hull structure; and energy storage means provided within the hull structure.

2. The marine vessel of claim 1, wherein the hull structure comprises: an inner hull; and an outer hull; wherein the energy storage means is provided between the inner hull and outer hull.

3. The marine vessel of claim 1, wherein the energy storage means comprises one or more hollow tubes.

4. The marine vessel of claim 3, wherein the one or more hollow tubes are placed to define the marine vessel's center of mass.

5. The marine vessel of claim 1, wherein the energy storage means comprises a honeycomb structure.

6. The marine vessel of claim 1, wherein the energy storage means is provided around an outer perimeter of the hull structure of the marine vessel.

7. The marine vessel of claim 1, wherein the energy storage means is provided along a left and right side of the marine vessel.

8. The marine vessel of claim 1, wherein the energy storage means is a means for storing hydrogen.

9. The marine vessel of claim 8, wherein the means for storing hydrogen is a metal hydride.

10. The marine vessel of claim 8, wherein the means for storing hydrogen is liquid hydrogen or compressed hydrogen gas.

11. The marine vessel of claim 1, wherein the energy storage means is a means for storing oxygen.

12. The marine vessel of claim 11, wherein the means for storing oxygen is liquid oxygen or compressed oxygen gas.

13. The marine vessel of claim 1, wherein the marine vessel is an underwater vehicle.

14. The marine vessel of claim 1, wherein the underwater vehicle can be either manned or unmanned.

15. A propulsion generation system for a marine vessel, the propulsion generation system comprising: a hull structure of the marine vessel; energy storage means provided within the hull structure of the marine vessel; and power generation means for providing power for the marine vessel, said power generation means utilizing energy from the energy storage means.

16. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 15, wherein the power generation means comprises a regenerative fuel cell.

17. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 15, wherein the power generation means comprises a combustor.

18. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 15, wherein the power generation means comprises a regenerative fuel cell combined with a combustor.

19. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 18, wherein the combustor is a pulse detonation engine.

20. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 15, wherein the energy storage means comprises a means for storing hydrogen.

21. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 15, wherein the energy storage means comprises a means for storing oxygen.

22. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 15, wherein the energy storage means comprises a means for storing hydrogen and a means for storing oxygen.

23. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 15, wherein the hull structure comprises: an inner hull; and an outer hull; wherein the energy storage means is provided between the inner hull and outer hull.

24. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 15, wherein the energy storage means comprises one or more hollow tubes.

25. The propulsion generation system for a marine vessel of claim 15, wherein the marine vessel is an underwater vehicle.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to hull construction for marine vessels, and more specifically, to an integrated hull with compartments for Energy Storage for an underwater vehicle.

2. Prior Art

Marine vessels that operate on the surface or under water are useful for performing a variety of tasks on or below the sea surface, such as deep-water salvage operations, navy and marine operations, underwater telecommunications, offshore petroleum and mining, and oceanographic research. Many of these applications are completed by small-scale underwater vehicles that can be either manned or unmanned (remotely operated). These unmanned vehicles are commonly known as Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs).

Generally, these small-scale marine vessels have used a variety of conventional propulsion systems. Some of the traditional power/propulsion generation systems use compressed or liquid gases, such as hydrogen and/or oxygen, for the power generation systems of the underwater vehicle. Typical uses of these gases are fuel cells, regenerative fuel cells, high energy density batteries, high-pressure gas tanks, liquid gas tanks, and certain other types of combustors. Metal hydrides, used for storing hydrogen, are stored in containers used exclusively for hydrogen storage. These components can be quite large and massive, taking up significant space in the marine vessel, and slowing down the marine vessel because of their weight. In these conventional marine vessels, mission duration is limited because of the space available for energy storage.

However, none of the prior art provides for energy storage for power generation for a marine vessel system without adding significant weight to the marine vessel or taking up significant space in the marine vessel. Accordingly, there is a need for a marine vessel that provides for energy storage for power generation of a marine vessel, without the drawbacks found in the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide a marine vessel that provides for energy storage without adding any significant weight to the marine vessel, and without taking up any additional space in the marine vessel.

Accordingly, a marine vessel is provided, the marine vessel comprising a hull structure, and energy storage means provided within the hull structure. The hull structure comprises an inner hull, and an outer hull, wherein the energy storage means is provided between the inner hull and outer hull.

The energy storage means can comprise one or more hollow tubes. The one or more hollow tubes can be placed to define the marine vessel's center of mass. The energy storage means can also comprise a honeycomb structure. The energy storage means is provided around an outer perimeter of the hull structure of the marine vessel, or is provided along a left and right side of the marine vessel.

The energy storage means can be a means for storing hydrogen or a means for storing oxygen. The means for storing hydrogen can be a metal hydride, or can be liquid hydrogen or compressed hydrogen gas. The means for storing oxygen can be liquid oxygen or compressed oxygen gas.

The marine vessel can be an underwater vehicle, where the underwater vehicle can be either manned or unmanned.

Further, a propulsion generation system for a marine vessel is provided, the propulsion generation system comprising a hull structure of the marine vessel, energy storage means provided within the hull structure of the marine vessel, and power generation means for providing power for the marine vessel, the power generation means utilizing energy from the energy storage means.

The power generation means can comprise a regenerative fuel cell, or the power generation means can comprise a combustor. The power generation means can also comprise a regenerative fuel cell combined with a combustor. The combustor can be a pulse detonation engine. The energy storage means can comprise a means for storing hydrogen, a means for storing oxygen, or both.

The above and other features of the invention, including various novel details of construction and combinations of parts, will now be more particularly described with reference to the accompanying drawings and pointed out in the claims. It will be understood that the particular device embodying the invention is shown by way of illustration only and not as a limitation of the invention. The principles and features of this invention may be employed in various and numerous embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the apparatus and methods of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic representation of an end view of a hull structure for a marine vessel.

FIG. 2 illustrates a schematic representation of a side view of a hull structure for a marine vessel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Although this invention is applicable to numerous and various types of energy storage for power generation systems for marine vessels, it has been found particularly useful in the environment of power generation systems for small-scale underwater vehicles and UUVs. Therefore, without limiting the applicability of the invention to underwater vehicles, the invention will be described in such environment.

With reference to FIG. 1, there is a schematic representation of an end view of a hull structure 100 for an underwater vehicle. The hull structure 100 comprises an outer hull 101 and an inner hull 102. The hull structure 100 can be circular or can be any shape that is typically used for marine vessels and known to one or ordinary skill in the art.

An energy storage means 103 is arranged around an outer perimeter of the hull structure 100 of an underwater vehicle between the outer hull 101 and inner hull 102. The energy storage means 103 can be provided along the entire outer perimeter of the hull structure as shown in FIG. 1, or only a part of the outer perimeter. The energy storage means 103 can comprise one or more tubes, which can be varied in length or size, depending on the size and length of the inner hull 102 and outer hull 103. FIG. 1 shows the tubes 103 going along the entire perimeter of the hull structure 100; however, the location of the tubes can also vary to define the underwater vehicle's center of mass.

Other shapes, such as a honeycomb, can also be used as the energy storage means 103, and can be placed between the outer hull 101 and inner hull 102. Any other shape or structure known to one of ordinary skill in the art could also be used as the energy storage means 103 within the hull structure 100.

The hollow space inside the energy storage means 103, or tubes 103, can be a means for storing hydrogen or a means for storing oxygen, or both. If a tube or honeycomb structure is used as the energy storage means 103, hydrogen can be stored in one half of the energy storage means 103, and oxygen in the other half of the energy storage means 103. Any ratio is possible depending on the requirements of the marine vessel. The hydrogen or oxygen may be in solid form, liquid form, may be within a carrier liquid, or in compressed gas form. The means for storing hydrogen can be a metal hydride to store hydrogen for the marine vessel. Other solids, liquids and gases required for energy storage can also be stored in the energy storage means 103.

The energy storage means 103 can be used in propulsion systems for marine vessels such as those described in Applicant's copending application Ser. Nos. 10/771,795, 10/819,857 and 10/951,251, all of which are incorporated herein by reference. The energy storage means 103 can be used as the oxygen supply and/or hydrogen supply described in these applications.

The energy storage means 103 can be combined with a regenerative fuel cell, a combustor, or combined with both a regenerative fuel cell and combustor, as described in the copending applications. The combustor could be any type of combustion engine, such as a Pulse Detonation Engine. This system could be utilized in an open loop or closed loop system.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of a hull structure 100 with the energy storage means 103 running along a side of a marine vessel 105. The energy storage means can be provided along a left and/or right side of the marine vessel 105. The length of the energy storage means 103 can be varied based on the required energy storage. If tubes or honeycombs are used as the energy storage means 103, the position, size and number of tubes or honeycombs may be varied and used to define the marine vessel's center of mass.

In some conventional energy systems for marine vessels, hydrogen is stored in a hydrogen supply and oxygen is stored in an oxygen supply. The hydrogen supply and oxygen supply are usually pressurized tanks, and are in fluid communication with a fuel cell or combustor (constant pressure or constant volume combustion system). The hydrogen and oxygen are typically the reactants for the fuel cell and/or combustor. The present invention provides for energy storage means 103 in the hull structure 100 of a marine vessel so that pressurized tanks are not required and do not add to the weight of the vehicle or take up additional space. Thus, it is possible to build a smaller and/or faster marine vessel.

The above descriptions of the present invention are only preferred embodiments of the present invention and are not limited by the above description. Various shapes and sizes of energy storage means 103 are possible within the hull structure 100 of the marine vessel, and are not limited to tubes or honeycombs. Different gases that provide energy for the marine vessel can be stored in the energy storage means 103. The size, length, shape and number of tubes or honeycombs can be modified in accordance with the size of the marine vessel, the type of gas or gases used, the amount of gases used, and the structure of the hull. The structure of the hull can be circular or semi-circular, or can be any type of hull structure known to one of ordinary skill in the art. The energy storage means 103 does not have to provided between the inner hull 102 and outer hull 101, but can be provided anywhere within a hull structure 100, such as inside the inner hull 102. The marine vessel can be either manned or unmanned.

The present invention provides several advantages that solves the problems with prior art methods. The hull structure 100 of the present invention provides for a method and apparatus to store energy that is embedded within the structure of the hull of the marine vessel. The hollow space within the energy storage means 103 provides an energy storage device for the marine vessel 105. The fact that the hull structure 100 of the marine vessel 105 has a dual use results in mass and volume savings for the marine vessel 105. The invention increases system energy density by making dual use of the hull structure 100, and conserves space without adding any significant weight to the marine vessel 105.

While there has been shown and described what is considered to be preferred embodiments of the invention, it will, of course, be understood that various modifications and changes in form or detail could readily be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is therefore intended that the invention be not limited to the exact forms described and illustrated, but should be constructed to cover all modifications that may fall within the scope of the appended claims.