Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cities of the Sea: Energy, Water and Food

Last week I taught an engineering systems modeling course at the Navy’s SPAWAR installation in San Diego, California.  In the evenings, we enjoyed the scenic vistas, great restaurants, and a little sightseeing.  One unexpected highlight on the last day of our trip was a visit to the USS Midway aircraft carrier that is permanently docked in San Diego bay, and is one of the most visited ship museums in the world.

The largest ship ever built at the time with a crew complement of over 4100, the USS Midway was also one of the longest serving aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy (1945-1992).  Consider the tremendous operational challenges of providing energy, water and food for this floating “city on the sea”, and the continuing requirements for other large ships (both military and commercial) currently in service.

An Opportunity for Hydrogen Energy Storage?

Imagine the logistical benefits of a system that could store energy and simultaneously processes seawater to potable water for large ships.  Such a system might support onboard controlled environment agriculture using grow lights and mist irrigation to provide food and drinking water for the crew and passengers.  In addition, other onboard energy requirements could be met by the system thereby freeing up more primary power for propulsion and other critical functions.

Could Isotherm Energy’s hydrogen energy storage architecture be the basis for such a system?  In an upcoming post, I’ll explore that question along with other applications that are uniquely well matched for the advantages of hydrogen energy storage.

Matt Moran is the Managing Member at Moran Innovation, and previous Managing Partner at Isotherm Energy. He's been developing power and propulsion systems since 1982. Matt was also the Sector Manager for Energy & Materials in his last position at NASA where he worked for 31 years. He's been involved in seven technology based start-ups; and provided R&D and engineering support to many industrial, government and research organizations.  More about Matt here