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Energy Harvesting for Underwater Persistent Systems


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Renewable Energy Generation and Storage


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: Develop innovative power generation or energy harvesting technologies to extend the life of underwater electrical systems.


DESCRIPTION: Underwater persistent systems are often significantly limited by the availability of onboard energy. The issue of energy limitation becomes more critical for continuously submerged persistent systems due to difficulties of deploying and retrieving systems for maintenance.

The Navy seeks a solution to extend system endurance without mission interruption or manned support. Available underwater persistent system capabilities would be significantly enhanced by innovative approaches to energy extraction in the underwater environment. In particular, underwater in-situ energy harvesting and storage could realize increased system endurance and reduced cost. The Navy is seeking an innovative way of powering underwater persistent systems by energy extraction from the seabed or underwater environment with power level sufficient for continuous reliable operations. The use of energy harvesting eliminates potential operational impacts associated with large, unique, specialized energy storage.


The desired technology centers on harvesting energy from the undersea environment for a long duration, maintenance free power source to fit in a compact form factor without a presence on the ocean’s surface. Long duration mission profile should maximize the continuous available energy as measured in watt hours. This energy requirement could therefore rely on novel methods for continuous energy harvesting to power onboard systems. All other approaches will be considered. The challenge of miniaturizing and incorporating these technologies into the volume constraint and successfully deploying this system in the field remains the dominant technical issue associated with this technology. Currently, no commercial system exists that meets the requirements.


The proposed power source must have a minimum storage shelf life under controlled conditions of six years without maintenance prior to deployment. The system should be autonomous and require no maintenance in while deployed. The desired form factor should be no greater than 1,000 cubic inches.


Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq., National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) formerly Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances. This will allow contractor personnel to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and NAVSEA in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material during the advanced phases of this contract IAW the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), which can be found at Title 32, Part 2004.20 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Reference: National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual (NISP), 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq. (1993).


PHASE I: Develop a concept for an innovative small scale energy harvesting system from the environment that meets the requirements described above. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and establish that the concept can be feasibly developed into a useful product for the Navy. Feasibility will be established by testing and analytical modeling.


The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.


PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype for evaluation as appropriate. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II SOW and the Navy requirements for the small scale energy harvesting System. Demonstrate performance with a detailed analysis, and live demonstration in a test environment as part of the evaluation. Provide detailed technical documentation of the design, including an interface control drawing and interface specification, to allow successful transition of the product. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use.


It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Provide technical support for the incorporation of the solution into Navy program(s). Depending on the particular program, support for additional testing may be needed. Explore the potential to transfer the system or technology to other military and commercial systems, including the scientific community.


Technology developed under this effort is applicable to any domain that requires subsea platform autonomy such as subsea oil and gas pipeline inspection.



  1. Faria, Carlos L.; Martins, Marcos S.; Matos, Tiago; Lima, Rui; Miranda, Joao M. and Goncalves, Luis M. "Underwater Energy Harvesting to Extend Operation Time of Submersible Sensors." Special Issue Marine Sensors: Recent Advances and Challenges, 10 February 2022.
  2. Khan, Anwar; Imran, Muhammad; Alharvi, Abdullah; Mohamed, Ehab Mahmoud and Fouda, Mostafa M. "Energy Harvesting in Underwater Acoustic Wireless Sensor Networks: Design, Taxonomy, Applications, Challenges and Future Directions." IEEE ACCESS, 30 December 2022.


KEYWORDS: Extended Life; Underwater Electrical Battery Powered Systems; Energy Harvesting from the Ocean; Waste Energy; Underwater Persistent Systems; Decreasing Energy Consumption

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