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Area of Technology:Engineering Sciences

Title of the Innovation: VARIABLE BUOYANCY ENGINE

Brief About Innovation

The Variable Buoyancy Engine (non-rotary propulsion system) is the key component in the efficient design of autonomous underwater vehicles or gliders which enables it to ascend and descend through the water column by varying the buoyancy of the system. NIOT developed an indigenous variable engine which can be customized to the end user requirements for the capacity, depth operation and buoyancy alteration rate.

VBE Salient Features

  • The VBE is able to operate up to 5000 m depth in ocean when associated with any submersible platform.
  • The VBE is able to provide additional variable buoyancy as compared to existing VBE as the invented VBE provides volume displacement of 1000 cc.
  • It has a feature of varying the rate of change of volume as per the system requirement
  • The volume change is accomplished by pumping the hydraulic oil from internal reservoir to external rubber bladder.
  • Embedded control electronics is designed with 16-bit PIC micro controller to drive the subcomponents of VBE and provides option for payload interface. The electronics also consists of an external memory interfaced via SPI communication for purpose of data logging.

Technology Application:

  • This variable engine is a modular system that can be incorporated in any of the non-propelled or hybrid submersible system/vehicle.
  • This is a high capacity buoyancy engine, which by actively changing its buoyancy assists the submersible system to descend and ascend in the ocean column up to the depth of 5000 m.
  • The embedded control electronics can act as an interface module between the variable buoyancy engine and user system/ vehicle via serial interface.
  • The user can have full control of variable buoyancy engine system through user interface commands. The user has to provide the required power to the embedded control electronics to drive the VBE. The embedded control electronics is designed to operate with less power consumption and also provides necessary safety protection and interlocks for safe & efficient operation.
  • The claimed invention uses axial piston pump derived by DC motor to pump the oil from internal oil reservoir to external rubber bladder, this arrangement makes the system compact as compared to existing VBE.

Technology Readiness Level: TRL 7 (Prototype developed, tested and demonstrated)