Since 1968, Collins Aerospace has been designing reliable fuel cells for extreme environments. Our customized proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are made for all maritime environments, including submarine and UUV air independent propulsion (AIP) systems, USVs and surface ships. The sole fuel cell supplier for the Spanish S-80 submarine – Collins specializes in submarine AIP systems.
Collins supplies a 300 kW fuel cell power module for the Spanish S-80 submarine. The unit is part of Navantia’s Bio-Ethanol Stealth Technology (BEST) AIP system and runs on bioethanol reformate and oxygen. Our system provides best-in-class endurance and stealth, increasing submerged operation time from 3 to 21+ days.
We work with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to provide a PEM fuel cell power system for the U.S. Navy’s Knifefish platform. Our fuel cell system is scalable for use in all sizes of UUVs or USVs, and provides high energy density and specific energy compared to conventional battery systems.
In collaboration with ONR, Collins has also developed a system for UUV/USV fuel cell refueling at sea. Called the refueling and servicing package (RASP), the system is packaged in a standard ISO container for use on a Navy LCS platform, and with only distilled water and the ship's power, RASP provides the servicing required for a UUV fuel cell. Servicing includes refueling the hydrogen tank, LOX tanks, removal of product water, refilling of DI water and charging the emergency battery.