The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded Florida State University (FSU) contracts totaling $10.9 million over three years to research and develop the electric drive and integrated power systems that will propel these next-generation ships in the 21st century, moving the Navy's vision of an all-electric ship one step closer to reality.
The new technology will revolutionize the Navy's war-fighting capabilities by improving combat effectiveness while reducing operational costs and crew size. All-electric ships of the future, like the DD 21 Zumwalt-class destroyer, will help the Navy realize major cost savings and reduced crew levels by automating many of the functions now performed by sailors. In current ships, propulsion systems use up to 90 percent of a ship's capacity. All-electric ships will free up hull space, reduce ship weight, increase payloads, and allow greater design flexibility.
Eliminating hydraulics and compressed air will also lead to cleaner, quieter, un-interruptible, and re-configurable electric power systems. The new systems will allow the Navy to take advantage of future direct energy conversion sources, electric weapons, and advanced sensors and defenses.
"This is a major transition that will build a Navy of the next century which is fundamentally stronger than the Navy of the past and better-adapted to seize the opportunities of the future," said Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig. "The architecture of our ships will change dramatically as will the conditions under which our sailors operate and the way we go to sea. Electric drive will change the character and power of our forces in revolutionary ways," Danzig added.
While research and development of next-generation ship propulsion will be a major focus at the FSU Center for Advanced Power Systems, Navy and FSU scientists expect equipment and systems developed at the center to have broader applications in aerospace, commercial industry and electric utilities.
The FSU Center for Advanced Power Systems is comprised of scientists at FSU, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University -FSU College of Engineering and other academic and industrial participants.
"Our significant multi-million dollar investment in the FSU Center for Advanced Power Systems recognizes the contribution that Florida State can make to this vital Navy initiative," said Navy Adm. Jay Cohen, director of ONR.
ONR pursues an integrated science and technology program from basic research through manufacturing technologies. Research areas include oceanography; advanced materials; sensors; electronics; surveillance; mine countermeasures; weapons; and surface ship, submarine and aircraft technologies.
More information about ONR programs can be found at http://www.onr.navy.mil. [link no longer available]