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NASA's Robot Diver is Fueled by Ocean Temps

newest robot can dive and swim for indefinite periods of time because it's powered by an unlimited resource:  the ocean's temperatures.  The robotic buoy utilizes thermal energy each time it moves from cold deep waters to warm surface waters.

The SOLO-TREC diver has been taking 500-meter dives off the coast of Hawaii collecting information on ocean salinity and currents since last November.  The robot makes three trips a day, constantly recharging itself.

The robot is outfitted with tubes of oil.  Those tubes are surrounded by a compartment filled with wax that liquifies once the robot hits warm waters.  The liquified wax expands, which squeezes the oil from the tubes into the interior of the buy viagra on the internet buoy it's stored at high pressure.  The oil is then released, which drives the generator and charges the batteries.

This process produces about 1.6 Wh, which fuels the buoy's functions like water intake and expulsion, a GPS receiver, and its sensors and transmitters.

NASA plans to create a whole fleet of these robot buoys that will monitor various ocean conditions.  The next step will be to develop similar devices that would never require a battery change.

via New Scientist

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Comments (4)Add Comment
1.6 WH???
written by Poida, May 05, 2010

that seems too little to "...fuel the buoy's functions like water intake and expulsion, a GPS receiver, and its sensors and transmitters"

1.6Kwh would be a nicer number. Would be great if it could generate that!

Dangerous if it got into the wrong hands
written by Lillian, May 06, 2010
What is to stop an evil organization from stealing one of these craft and retrofitting it for nefarious purposes?
Dangerous how?
written by Alex, May 06, 2010
What "Nefarious purpose" would be made possible by a thing like this that wouldn't be possible without one?
written by Fluxfox, May 12, 2010
Very interesting approach. I look forward to see where this method goes in future.

@ Lillian
Anything can be used for "Nefarious purposes" in the wrong hands. A car and be dangerous in the wrong hands, but that doesn’t stop us from making them.

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