Floating variation system for underwater applications

Underwater operations are carried out by dedicated systems and for the most part with the use of ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) and AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles) operated from a ship or a land base station.

The movement in the water column, descent and ascent, are typically performed by buoyancy control or by conventional underwater thrusters (electric motors with propellers) using the localized movements/behaviours (such as hovering and faster manoeuvres) when necessary. The payload capacity requirements and task performance without the need for outside intervention, low power consumption and the high depth are very demanding.

Based on the problem presented before, the primary goal of the project is to develop hybrid variable ballast systems (using a mix-concept of dealing with oil to pump water). In order to extend the range of possible operations to be held in high external pressure environments, reducing energy consumption by maximizing payload capacity and fine control in confined environments such as mining in mines with high groundwater levels (typically submerged operation). This type of system can be used in various types of underwater vehicles (AUVs, Landers or ROVs) or for the transport of materials or tools in the open sea or other freshwater environments.

The proposed concept in this project consists of a flexible variable ballast system (VBS) for deep underwater applications with advanced control capabilities. This system consists of a component that allows varying the buoyancy of a wide range of vehicles and systems for operation in the ocean environment, at different depths up to 4.000 meters. Allows variation of buoyancy, for vehicles buoyancy trimming systems, or to change of direction of the vehicle with changes in buoyancy, and, more significantly to perform the ascend/descent motion control in the water column in an efficiently manner.

Reference: POCI-01-0247-FEDER-017250
Duration: March 2016 to June 2018
Coordinator: A. Silva Matos - Metalomecânica (Portugal)
Funding agency: FEDER
Programme: COMPETE 2020
Type of Action: Sistema de Incentivos à Investigação e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico (SI I&DT)
Topic: Projetos em Co-Promoção