The self-contained system would provide long-term, persistent deployment while eliminating the use of manned vessels to support offshore operations


The Ocean Power Technologies’ PB3 PowerBuoy wave energy converter. (Credit: Ocean Power Technologies, Inc.)

Ocean energy solutions innovator Ocean Power Technologies (OPT), in partnership with Modus Seabed Intervention and Saab Seaeye, is developing a solution for carbon-free subsea autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) residency for offshore operations.

The partners are working on a self-contained system that would provide long-term, persistent deployment while eliminating the use of manned vessels.

The autonomous resident AUV system features the OPT’s PB3 PowerBuoy wave energy converter as well as communications platform at its core.

The PowerBuoy, via an integrated mooring and subsea power/data transmission cable, will have the capacity to provide carbon-free power to a seabed docking station to recharge an AUV while enabling transmission of secure data.

According to the firm, an autonomously powered interactive docking station can efficiently undertake routine operations and facilitate timely response to ad hoc events more rapidly compared to surface-based vessels.

OPT and partners seek US funding for demonstration of AUV system concept

OPT president and CEO George Kirby said: “We believe a self-contained system powered by an OPT PowerBuoy and exempt from existing ocean infrastructure has the potential to revolutionize the industrial use of AUVs and make long-term residency a cost-effective reality.

“Modus Seabed Intervention’s experience with advanced technology development efforts in subsea docking with Saab Seaeye’s market-leading hybrid AUV (HAUV) enables autonomous offshore operations and we believe it is a natural fit for our environmentally sound PowerBuoy ocean power and communications technology.

“We’re looking forward to working together to further support the growing offshore electrification market.”

OPT said that partners are now seeking funding from the US government for the development and demonstration of the AUV system concept.

The OPT/Modus/Saab AUV residency system is designed to provide safety and cost benefits over fossil-fuel powered solutions as well as reduces costs by eliminating the use of vessels and umbilical links.