Water Ballast Patents (Class 114/333)
  • Patent number: 11167828
    Abstract: A method for regulating the buoyancy of an underwater vehicle in such a way that it substantially exhibits a predetermined target buoyancy Fc when it is immersed in a volume of liquid delimited by a first surface and a second surface, along a vertical axis, the method includes starting from an initial buoyancy of the vehicle that keeps the vehicle at the level of the first surface, a first step of modifying the density of the vehicle so that it moves closer to the second surface, the first step being implemented as far as a second step of detecting the crossing, by the vehicle, of a predetermined non-zero threshold on distance with respect to the first surface, along the vertical axis, then a third step of modifying the density of the vehicle until the vehicle exhibits substantially the target buoyancy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 9, 2021
    Assignee: THALES
    Inventors: Christophe Borel, Eric Rouvier, Cyril Bouyer
  • Patent number: 11077924
    Abstract: A depth selector or current depth provider for use by a variable speed air system. As a depth selector it is preferably in the form of a rotary switch on the user interface for the air system. The rotary switch can have 3 positions for maximum depth selections, such as, without limitation 15, 25, and 65 feet. Other depth values and number of depth selections provided can be used and all are considered within the scope of the disclosure. A microcontroller of the system reads the voltage from the voltage divider created by the rotary switch selection to determine which position the rotary switch is in. The microcontroller uses this information to set the upper and lower pressure limits for the dive.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2019
    Date of Patent: August 3, 2021
    Assignee: BROWNIE'S MARINE GROUP, INC.
    Inventor: Blake Carmichael
  • Patent number: 11059553
    Abstract: A system for autonomous ocean data collection includes at least one sensor capable of collecting sensor data, at least one transmission device, and at least one computing device comprising one or more hardware processors and memory coupled to the one or more hardware processors, the memory storing one or more instructions which, when executed by the one or more hardware processors, cause the at least one computing device to generate data for transmission based on the sensor data collected by the at least one sensor, and cause the at least one transmission device to transmit the data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 15, 2019
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2021
    Assignee: Saildrone, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard Elliott Jenkins, Dylan Owens
  • Patent number: 10948025
    Abstract: A clutch having two stages for applying varied torque between an input shaft and an output shaft includes a clutchpack having input friction plates and output friction plates. The clutch further includes a first spring configured to apply a first pressure to the clutchpack to compress the clutchpack. The clutch further includes a second spring configured to apply a second pressure to the clutchpack to compress the clutchpack. The clutch further includes an engagement nut configured to move in response to rotation of the output shaft relative to the input shaft to compress the second spring in order to increase an amount of the second pressure applied to the clutchpack.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 2019
    Date of Patent: March 16, 2021
    Assignee: GOODRICH CORPORATION
    Inventor: Bejan Maghsoodi
  • Patent number: 10703445
    Abstract: An apparatus for towing geophysical sources includes a housing; a first geophysical source disposed in the housing so that the first geophysical source is partially exposed to a surrounding environment; and a plurality of ballast tanks coupled to the housing and configured to at least one of: change a buoyancy of the source towing system; and shift a center of mass of the source towing system. A method of towing a geophysical source includes towing a source towing system through a body of water at a towing depth; and operating a plurality of ballast tanks of the source towing system to at least one of: change a buoyancy of the source towing system; and shift a center of mass of the source towing system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 18, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2020
    Assignee: PGS Geophysical AS
    Inventors: Mattias Oscarsson, Thomas Hvesser
  • Patent number: 10678234
    Abstract: A system and method for autonomous vehicle control to minimize energy cost are disclosed. A particular embodiment includes: generating a plurality of potential routings and related vehicle motion control operations for an autonomous vehicle to cause the autonomous vehicle to transit from a current position to a desired destination; generating predicted energy consumption rates for each of the potential routings and related vehicle motion control operations using a vehicle energy consumption model; scoring each of the plurality of potential routings and related vehicle motion control operations based on the corresponding predicted energy consumption rates; selecting one of the plurality of potential routings and related vehicle motion control operations having a score within an acceptable range; and outputting a vehicle motion control output representing the selected one of the plurality of potential routings and related vehicle motion control operations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 9, 2020
    Assignee: TUSIMPLE, INC.
    Inventors: Xing Sun, Wutu Lin, Liu Liu, Kai-Chieh Ma, Zijie Xuan, Yufei Zhao
  • Patent number: 10556640
    Abstract: An unmanned semi-submarine, including a main hull; airfoil buoyancy chambers; an antenna; a radar; a propeller; a rudder; and compartments. The airfoil buoyancy chambers include a front buoyancy chamber and a rear buoyancy chamber. The front buoyancy chamber and the rear airfoil buoyancy chamber are longitudinally distributed on the main hull. The radar and the antenna are disposed on the top end of the front buoyancy chamber. The rudder is disposed on the rear buoyancy chamber. The propeller is disposed at the tail of the main hull to drive the unmanned semi-submarine. The horizontal sections of the front buoyancy chamber and the rear buoyancy chamber are symmetrical airfoil. The compartments include a front equipment compartment, a rear equipment compartment, a control equipment compartment, a battery compartment, and a propelling compartment. The compartments are separated from one another using watertight walls.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 11, 2020
    Assignee: DALIAN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Guan Guan, Yanyun Yu, Ming Chen, Yunlong Wang, Chaoguang Jin, Kai Li, Yan Lin
  • Patent number: 10480685
    Abstract: A method lowers a hollow structure through water and installs that structure at a subsea location. The structure has an internal space containing a ballast material such as sea salt that is substantially denser than water. Upon being lowered with the aid of the ballast material to a subsea destination, the structure is anchored at that destination. Then, water is introduced into the internal space to dissolve, suspend or dilute the ballast material. Thus dissolved, suspended or diluted, the ballast material is evacuated or dispersed from the internal space in a liquid or fluidized form. For example, a solution or suspension of the ballast material can be entrained in a flushing flow of water through and from the internal space. The internal space is then available to perform another, primary function in subsea operation of the structure, for example as a flowline to convey oil or gas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 11, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 19, 2019
    Assignee: Acergy France SAS
    Inventor: Stephane Bombino
  • Patent number: 10442512
    Abstract: A system for autonomous ocean data collection includes at least one sensor capable of collecting sensor data, at least one transmission device, and at least one computing device comprising one or more hardware processors and memory coupled to the one or more hardware processors, the memory storing one or more instructions which, when executed by the one or more hardware processors, cause the at least one computing device to generate data for transmission based on the sensor data collected by the at least one sensor, and cause the at least one transmission device to transmit the data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 7, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 15, 2019
    Assignee: Saildrone, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard Elliott Jenkins, Dylan Owens
  • Patent number: 10286981
    Abstract: A skeg mounts from the stern of a towing vessel and extends below the waterline. A channel in the skeg protects cables for steamers and a source of a seismic system deployed from the vessel. Tow points on the skeg lie below the water's surface and connect to towlines to support the steamers and source. A floatation device supports the source and tows below the water's surface to avoid ice floes. The streamers can have vehicles deployed thereon for controlling a position on the streamer. To facilitate locating the streamers, these vehicles on the streamers can be brought to the surface when clear of ice floes so that GPS readings can be obtained and communicated to a control system. After obtaining readings, the vehicles can be floated back under the surface. Deploying, using, and retrieving the system accounts for ice at the surface in icy regions. In addition, handling the seismic record can account for noise generated by ice impact events.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 15, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2019
    Assignee: ION GEOPHYSICAL CORPORATION
    Inventors: Joseph R. Gagliardi, Shawn Rice, Curt Schneider, Jeffrey W. Cunkelman, Timothy A. Dudley, Dale Lambert, Mike Burnham
  • Patent number: 10259540
    Abstract: Systems and methods for launching and retrieving payloads in aquatic environments employ a platform that is both floatable and submersible at the discretion of and/or under the control of a user, on which submersible objects to be launched, delivered to a subsea location and/or retrieved (the payload) may be located. The submergible platform has a plurality of sealed and/or sealable buoyancy chambers and at least one low pressure gas storage tank having associated fixtures and valves providing introduction of gas to the buoyancy chambers. One or more buoyant elements may be coupled to the submersible platform to support the platform in a submerged condition. A payload docking system providing secure docking of a payload on the platform deck is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2019
    Assignee: OceanGate, Inc.
    Inventor: Richard Stockton Rush, III
  • Patent number: 9948405
    Abstract: An underwater mobile body includes: a communication unit that has a plurality of communicators adopting different communication systems and that performs underwater wireless communication with another device using one of the plurality of communicators; an acquisition unit that acquires information on depth or information varying with depth; and a control unit that controls the communication unit to switch, between the plurality of communicators and based on the acquired information, the one communicator used for underwater wireless communication.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 27, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2018
    Assignee: FUJI XEROX CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Tsutomu Kimura, Motofumi Baba, Masahiro Sato, Yoshihiko Nemoto, Akihito Yamauchi, Kengo Tokuchi
  • Patent number: 9849953
    Abstract: An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for recording seismic signals during a marine seismic survey. The AUV includes a body extending along an axis X and having a head portion, a middle portion, and a tail portion, wherein the middle portion is sandwiched between the head portion and the tail portion along the X axis; a cross-section of the middle portion, substantially perpendicular on the X axis, having a triangular-like shape; the head portion including a base portion having the triangular-like shape and configured to match the middle portion; the head portion having a tip that, when projected along the X axis on the base portion, substantially coincides with a centroid of the base portion having the triangular-like shape; and a seismic payload located within the body and configured to record seismic signals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 21, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 26, 2017
    Assignee: CGG SERVICE SAS
    Inventor: Thierry Brizard
  • Patent number: 9816479
    Abstract: A pod of an ocean current power generation device which is serving as an underwater floating-type underwater device is provided with a ballast tank and an air storage tank. When discharging water from the ballast tank, by opening a water discharge valve and driving a water discharge pump, water inside the ballast tank is discharged to the outside through a water conduit. When supplying water, by opening a water supply valve while the water pressure outside the pod is greater than the water pressure inside the ballast tank, water is made to flow from the outside of the pod through an aperture portion, and into the ballast tank via the water conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 14, 2017
    Assignee: IHI CORPORATION
    Inventors: Norihisa Handa, Shigeki Nagaya, Yoshiyuki Yamane
  • Patent number: 9778386
    Abstract: Embodiments of an autonomous seismic node that can be positioned on the seabed are disclosed. The autonomous seismic node comprises a pressurized node housing substantially surrounded and/or enclosed by a non-pressurized node housing. The seismic node may be substantially rectangular or square shaped for node storage, handling, and deployment. One or more node locks may be coupled to either (or both) of the pressurized node housing or the non-pressurized node housing. The pressurized node housing may be formed as a cast monolithic titanium structure and may be a complex shape with irregularly shaped sides and be asymmetrical. In other embodiments, a non-pressurized housing may substantially enclose other devices or payloads besides a node, such as weights or transponders, and be coupled to a plurality of protrusions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2017
    Assignee: SEABED GEOSOLUTIONS B.V.
    Inventors: Johan Fredrik Naes, Richard Edward Henman, Arne Henning Rokkan, Leif Johan Larsen, Mariann Ervik
  • Patent number: 9533738
    Abstract: The floating body structure is a floating body structure that supports an object to be supported so that the object to be supported floats in the sea, including a floating body section connected to a base end portion of the object to be supported, wherein the floating body section has a lid body made of steel, an outer pipe made of steel, and an inner pipe made of steel and provided inside the outer pipe, and the floating body section is hermetically sealed by the lid body in a state where at least a portion of a gap formed between an outer wall surface of the inner pipe and an inner wall surface of the outer pipe is filled with concrete or mortar.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 3, 2017
    Assignee: NIPPON STEEL & SUMITOMO METAL CORPORATION
    Inventor: Tomonori Tominaga
  • Patent number: 9523780
    Abstract: Embodiments of an autonomous seismic node that can be positioned on the seabed are disclosed. The autonomous seismic node comprises a pressurized node housing substantially surrounded and/or enclosed by a non-pressurized node housing. The seismic node may be substantially rectangular or square shaped for node storage, handling, and deployment. One or more node locks may be coupled to either (or both) of the pressurized node housing or the non-pressurized node housing. The pressurized node housing may be formed as a cast monolithic titanium structure and may be a complex shape with irregularly shaped sides and be asymmetrical. In other embodiments, a non-pressurized housing may substantially enclose other devices or payloads besides a node, such as weights or transponders, and be coupled to a plurality of protrusions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 7, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 20, 2016
    Assignee: SEABED GEOSOLUTIONS B.V.
    Inventors: Johan Fredrik Naes, Richard Edward Henman, Arne Henning Rokkan, Leif Johan Larsen, Mariann Ervik
  • Patent number: 9511834
    Abstract: A submersible designed so that a cabin for boarding an operator has a size just enough to accommodate the operator and even such a light weight of the submersible can cause the submersible to submerge. Furthermore, when an operator having a weight smaller than a design maximum operator's weight of the submersible is on board, and therefore the total weight of the submersible is reduced and the buoyancy thereof is increased, the buoyancy of the submersible is adjusted by pouring water having a weight corresponding to a difference between the design maximum operator's weight and the actual weight of the operator into an expansion container, disposed in the cabin, capable of expanding by containing water. In this manner, the net weight of the submersible is prevented from increasing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 27, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 6, 2016
    Inventor: Kunio Nasuno
  • Patent number: 9395461
    Abstract: A steerable seismic energy source includes at least one float. The floatation device includes a device for changing buoyancy thereof. A frame is coupled to the at least one float. At least one seismic energy source is suspended from the frame. At least one steering device is coupled to the floatation device or the frame. The at least one steering device includes at least one control surface and a control surface actuator coupled to the control surface. The actuator is configured to rotate the control surface to generate hydrodynamic lift at least in a vertical direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 5, 2013
    Date of Patent: July 19, 2016
    Assignee: PGS Geophysical AS
    Inventors: Vidar Hovland, Tore Steinsland, Karl Petter Elvestad
  • Patent number: 9315250
    Abstract: Systems and methods for maneuvering an underwater vehicle by generating vehicle maneuvering forces from a propulsor of the vehicle are provided. A post-swirl propulsor is configured such that pitch angles of downstream stator blades can be individually varied. The variation in pitch results in the generation of multiple forces and moments for vehicle control.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2016
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Stephen A. Huyer, David N. Beal
  • Patent number: 8839618
    Abstract: A buoyancy engine is provided for use in a saltwater environment. The engine includes a gas filled housing and a buoyancy chamber in the housing. An elastomeric membrane is positioned between the buoyancy chamber interior and the housing interior. A semi-permeable membrane is provided between the buoyancy chamber interior and the saltwater environment. Two electrodes can be positioned with both electrodes in the buoyancy chamber or with one electrode being positioned in the buoyancy chamber and the other being positioned in the saltwater environment. A controller is joined to at least one of the electrodes for controlling an electrical potential between the two electrodes. A power source provides power to the controller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 23, 2014
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: John B. Blottman, III, Barbar J. Akle
  • Publication number: 20140137789
    Abstract: An installation vehicle for a nacelle of a tidal power plant having a turbine-generator unit includes at least two floating devices with a plurality of ballast tanks, the buoyancy of which is settable, a drive device acting in different directions, and a controllable fastening device for holding the nacelle. The fastening device is connected at least indirectly to a support element, which produces a connection between the floating devices. The connection between the floating devices and the support element is embodied by a detachable coupling unit or the support element includes a device for size adaptation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 24, 2014
    Publication date: May 22, 2014
    Applicant: VOITH PATENT GMBH
    Inventors: Alex Hewitt, Jason Hayman, Norman Perner
  • Patent number: 8726827
    Abstract: Systems and methods for compensating for compressibility and thermal expansion coefficient mismatch in buoyancy controlled or buoyancy-driven underwater vehicles are disclosed herein. An underwater vehicle configured in accordance with one embodiment of the disclosure, for example, can include a hull and a compartment carried by the hull and at least partially flooded with a first liquid having similar properties as a surrounding liquid into which the hull is configured to be deployed. The first liquid has a first compressibility and thermal expansion coefficient. The underwater vehicle can further include a compressibility and thermal expansion coefficient compensation system comprising a container filled or at least partially filled with a compressible liquid comprising silicone in the compartment. The compressible liquid has a second compressibility higher than the first compressibility and second thermal expansion coefficient higher than the first thermal expansion coefficient.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 20, 2014
    Assignee: University of Washington Center for Commercialization
    Inventor: Charles C. Eriksen
  • Publication number: 20130287502
    Abstract: A floating, offshore drilling and/or production platform such as a tension leg platform, semi-submersible, spar or the like is equipped with a ballast tank system that comprises the traditional tank and a shaft that runs typically vertically from top-of-hull level to the top of the tank. This shaft is large enough to allow the ballast pipe, sounding lines, instrumentation piping, etc. to be installed within it. In certain embodiments, the shaft itself functions as a vent line.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 30, 2013
    Publication date: October 31, 2013
    Applicant: Seahorse Equipment Corp
    Inventors: Oriol R. Rijken, Edward Sean Large, Sjoerd Hoekstra
  • Publication number: 20130239870
    Abstract: A multiple stage buoyancy changing system, or variable buoyancy device, for an underwater vehicle. The multiple stage buoyancy changing system comprises: a pressure hull containing a flexibly-sized internal fluid reservoir; a flexibly-sized external fluid reservoir attached to the pressure hull and connected to the internal reservoir; a system of devices and channels configured to move fluid between the internal fluid reservoir and the external fluid reservoir to change a displaced volume of the vehicle. Each stage of the variable buoyancy device can be optimized for maximum energy efficiency while changing the vehicle's displaced volume within an ambient pressure range. A control system for the variable buoyancy device engages different stages depending on ambient external pressure such that maximum energy efficiency is achieved over a large range of pressures/depths.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 9, 2013
    Publication date: September 19, 2013
    Applicant: iRobot Corporation
    Inventors: Edison Thurman Hudson, Robert Eugene Hughes, Frederick Roland Stahr, Jason Isaac Gobat, Timothy James Osse
  • Publication number: 20130083624
    Abstract: An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for recording seismic signals during a marine seismic survey. The AUV includes a body having a flush shape; an intake water element located on the body and configured to take in water; at least one propulsion nozzle located on the body and configured to eject the water from the intake water element for actuating the AUV; at least one guidance nozzle located on the body and configured to eject water to change a traveling direction of the AUV; and a seismic payload located on the body of the AUV and configured to record seismic signals.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 14, 2012
    Publication date: April 4, 2013
    Applicant: CGGVERITAS SERVICES SA
    Inventors: Thierry BRIZARD, Alice HERVÉ, Jonathan GRIMSDALE, Robert DOWLE
  • Publication number: 20130055946
    Abstract: A dual pumping system for use on a movable flood control barrier structure to allow the structure to be swung into the opening of a waterway and sunk to prevent flooding during storms and then floated and swung out of the waterway after the storm is disclosed. A buoyant generally rectangular barge may be employed as the movable flood control barrier. A centrifugal pumping system pumps water into compartments within the barrier structure so it sinks to the bottom of the waterway while the same pumping system pumps water back to the waterway to float the structure. A hydraulic pumping system operates hydraulic winches to move the structure into and out of the channel using cables. The two pumping systems are capable of operating both the water pumping system and hydraulic winch system simultaneously or independently with a single engine.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 4, 2012
    Publication date: March 7, 2013
    Inventor: Dale A. Conway
  • Patent number: 8381672
    Abstract: Systems and methods for compensating for compressibility and thermal expansion coefficient mismatch in buoyancy controlled or buoyancy-driven underwater vehicles are disclosed herein. An underwater vehicle configured in accordance with one embodiment of the disclosure, for example, can include a hull and a compartment carried by the hull and at least partially flooded with a first liquid having similar properties as a surrounding liquid into which the hull is configured to be deployed. The first liquid has a first compressibility and thermal expansion coefficient. The underwater vehicle can further include a compressibility and thermal expansion coefficient compensation system comprising a container filled or at least partially filled with a compressible liquid comprising silicone in the compartment. The compressible liquid has a second compressibility higher than the first compressibility and second thermal expansion coefficient higher than the first thermal expansion coefficient.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2013
    Assignee: University of Washington Center for Commercialization
    Inventor: Charles C. Eriksen
  • Publication number: 20120318188
    Abstract: Multi-stage buoyancy changing system for an autonomous underwater vehicle comprises: an internal reservoir configured to hold a fluid; an external bladder connected to the internal reservoir and configured to exchange fluid with the internal reservoir via one or more channels; a first device configured to move fluid through a channel from the internal reservoir to the external bladder at an optimized efficiency for an ambient pressure of a first segment of a dive profile to increase apparent displacement and buoyancy of the vehicle; and a second device configured to move fluid through a channel from the internal reservoir to the external bladder at an optimized efficiency for an ambient pressure of a second segment of the dive profile to increase an apparent displacement and a buoyancy of the vehicle. The first segment of the dive profile includes a different ambient pressure range than the second segment of the dive profile.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 24, 2010
    Publication date: December 20, 2012
    Inventors: Edison Thurman Hudson, Robert Eugene Hughes, Timothy James Osse, Frederick Roland Stahr, Jason Isaac Gobat
  • Publication number: 20120304913
    Abstract: Superfluous sealing, buoyancy and immersion controlling system for floating appliances having a primary, secondary and tertiary buoyancy systems, a buoyancy system of devices and operation and maintenance plants, a set of submersible pumps, a console for controlling and automating the immersion operations and a set of programmable valves. This superfluous system allows any appliance or platform to be able of easily being towed to its final location at sea, ocean, lake . . . regardless of the size, shape or weight thereof, and weather conditions. Similarly, this system enables the immersion at a controlled rate once the platform is in its final location.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 10, 2010
    Publication date: December 6, 2012
    Applicant: GRUPO DE INGENIERIA OCEANICA, S.L.
    Inventor: Cesar del Campo y Ruiz de Almodovar
  • Publication number: 20120291689
    Abstract: An autonomous system for blowing ballast for eliminating negative buoyancy of a submarine and a method of blowing the same. The autonomous system includes air supply balloons arranged in an area of the submarine protected from mechanical damage; trunk pipelines connected to the balloons for supplying gas to FDT of the submarine; shutoff devices for regulating the supply of gas via the trunk pipelines. According to the method realized using the disclosed system, compressed gas is supplied from the compressed air balloon, over the trunk pipelines, and into the FDT of the submarine. The invention provides bringing the negative buoyancy of the submarine to zero to stop the gravitational dive.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 13, 2011
    Publication date: November 22, 2012
    Inventor: Nickolay Timofeevich GOYDIN
  • Patent number: 8267033
    Abstract: An apparatus includes a housing and a ballast disposed within the housing. The ballast is adapted to receive, store and expel a fluid. A bladder is operatively coupled to the ballast wherein an increase in the volume of the bladder causes a decrease in the free volume of the ballast available for the storage of the fluid therewithin and a decrease in the volume of the bladder causes an increase in the free volume of the ballast available for the storage of the fluid therewithin. A heat exchanger has a heat exchange duct thermally coupled to the bladder and is adapted to receive a fluid from outside the housing. The bladder is configured to receive a clathrate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 10, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 18, 2012
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Matthew Herbek, Matthew B. Ascari, John W. Rapp, Robert J. Howard
  • Patent number: 8220406
    Abstract: A buoyant submersible structure floating above the sea floor includes a support portion to support a load, and a gas-filled tank. The tank has an opening, and a connected tube. The tube is partially filled with seawater defining a water-gas interface at a first level. In operation, the structure is fully submerged below the water surface to a first depth. The second chamber is partially filled with seawater defining a water-gas interface at a first position inside the second chamber. Then, the buoyancy structure is moved to a second, greater depth. Water enters the second chamber to raise the water-gas interface to a second, higher level and without entering the first chamber. Subsequently, the buoyancy of the structure is adjusted to tension the cable, a support structure to support a load is attached to the structure, and then the buoyancy of the structure is readjusted.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2012
    Assignee: Single Buoy Moorings Inc.
    Inventor: Jack Pollack
  • Publication number: 20120145066
    Abstract: High velocity subsurface craft, apparatus or method positively affecting propulsion and limiting drag by the use of a rotating body with selected Surface Treatment. The Active Hull Platform provides Apparent Flows that allow for shorter more dispersed blade arrays and boundary layer management that impacts vorticity on skin surfaces by controlling the angular momentum of the vortices formed. By converting drag forces into thrust, vortices need not be avoided and an even non pulsating distributed thrust is the result.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 9, 2010
    Publication date: June 14, 2012
    Inventor: Ron M. King
  • Patent number: 8132525
    Abstract: A water navigable vessel or glider can transport cargo across oceans and other bodies of water without the use of fossil or nuclear fuels. The vessel includes a housing, a cargo or payload area within the housing, one or more control fins attached to the housing, a ballast within the housing, an expandable and contractible container configured to receive a clathrate and maintain a minimum amount of pressure on the clathrate within the housing in proximity to the ballast, and an intake valve coupled to the ballast. The clathrate changes state, thereby changing the buoyancy of the glider, and causing the glider to move through the body of water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 20, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2012
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Matthew Herbek, Robert Dietzen, Braden Powell, Sean Day, Kenneth Blanchette, Matthew Gries, Matthew B. Ascari, John W. Rapp, Robert J. Howard
  • Patent number: 8100074
    Abstract: Technologies such as stealth buoys and underwater gliders need to modify their own buoyancy in order to operate. Strategies such as pumping fluid are typically used to change the device's net volume. This in turn requires a mechanically sophisticated apparatus, increasing the cost of the vehicle while diminishing its reliability. The concept of a buoyancy engine that exploits the enormous volume and pressure changes accompanying the reversible electrochemical interconversion of water to hydrogen and oxygen gases is applied to stealth buoys and underwater gliders.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 9, 2009
    Date of Patent: January 24, 2012
    Assignee: Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Defense
    Inventors: Colin G. Cameron, Jeffrey H. Smith
  • Publication number: 20120015567
    Abstract: A water navigable vessel or glider can transport cargo across oceans and other bodies of water without the use of fossil or nuclear fuels. The vessel includes a housing, a cargo or payload area within the housing, one or more control fins attached to the housing, a ballast within the housing, an expandable and contractible container configured to receive a clathrate and maintain a minimum amount of pressure on the clathrate within the housing in proximity to the ballast, and an intake valve coupled to the ballast. The clathrate changes state, thereby changing the buoyancy of the glider, and causing the glider to move through the body of water.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 20, 2009
    Publication date: January 19, 2012
    Applicant: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Matthew Herbek, Robert Dietzen, Braden Powell, Sean Day, Kenneth Blanchette, Matthew Gries, Matthew B. Ascari, John W. Rapp, Robert J. Howard
  • Publication number: 20110253027
    Abstract: Disclosed is a buoyancy device for tensioning an elongate vertical (or quasi vertical) subsea structure at a point below the sea surface, anchored at its bottom. The device comprises as its main buoyancy elements a plurality of hollow elongate objects, and further comprises at least one auxiliary buoyancy element comprising a solid buoyant material. Ideally, the solid buoyant material provides enough uplift to maintain the device afloat should the main buoyancy elements be flooded. A riser apparatus comprising such a buoyancy device is also described.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 6, 2009
    Publication date: October 20, 2011
    Inventor: Jean-Luc Legras
  • Patent number: 8033235
    Abstract: A water craft (10) includes a hull (12) defining two cavities (18). An inflatable chamber (22) is arranged in each cavity (18), for displacing water from hull (12), in use, to increase the buoyancy of the craft (10). As the chamber (22) is inflated, it expands to reduce the free space available for water in the cavity (18), so as to directly expel water from the cavity (18). The chamber (22) can be deflated, in order to flood the cavity and thereby sink the craft (10). The craft (10) is intended to be operated in a normal buoyant mode and in a submarine mode, and includes propeller means (34). The craft may be in the form of a catamaran-type vessel, a jet-ski, or a submersible tank.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 2, 2005
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2011
    Inventor: Robin Jac Harris
  • Publication number: 20110226176
    Abstract: An apparatus includes a housing and a ballast disposed within the housing. The ballast is adapted to receive, store and expel a fluid. A bladder is operatively coupled to the ballast wherein an increase in the volume of the bladder causes a decrease in the free volume of the ballast available for the storage of the fluid therewithin and a decrease in the volume of the bladder causes an increase in the free volume of the ballast available for the storage of the fluid therewithin. A heat exchanger has a heat exchange duct thermally coupled to the bladder and is adapted to receive a fluid from outside the housing. The bladder is configured to receive a clathrate.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 10, 2009
    Publication date: September 22, 2011
    Applicant: LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION
    Inventors: Matthew Herbek, Matthew B. Ascari, John W. Rapp, Robert J. Howard
  • Publication number: 20100294192
    Abstract: A buoyancy system includes a chamber having a volume associated therewith, and bladders within the volume of the chamber. Each bladder contains a clathrate mixture in a liquid state. The chamber includes an opening to allow surrounding water to circulate within the volume and contact the bladders. As the chamber is submerged in the surrounding water, the bladders expand based on the clathrate mixture changing from the liquid state to a solid state. This changes buoyancy by allowing less water to circulate within the volume of the chamber.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 21, 2009
    Publication date: November 25, 2010
    Inventors: MATTHEW HERBEK, Robert Dietzen, Braden Powell, Kenneth Blanchette, Sean Day, Matthew Gries, John Rapp, Matthew Ascari, Maria Fini
  • Publication number: 20100242826
    Abstract: The object of the invention is a method for installing and servicing an apparatus module (1) recovering the kinetic energy of water; and the apparatus module (1) itself. The apparatus module (1) with wave energy recovering units (3) is descended into the sea bottom (12) and is kept steady at the sea bottom (12) by the help of its own mass and the mass of the water filled into the compartments (2a and 2c) in the body (2) of the apparatus module (1). Correspondingly the apparatus module (1) is lifted into the surface of the water and made floating by the help of air that is blown to the compartments (2a) and (2c) in order to replace the water.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 26, 2009
    Publication date: September 30, 2010
    Applicant: AW-ENERGY Oy
    Inventors: Rauno KOIVUSAARI, Yrjo Tuokkola, Arvo Jarvinen, John Liljelund, Matti Vuorinen, Erkki Kasanen, Jorma Savolainen, Pekka Miettinen
  • Patent number: 7789723
    Abstract: An unmanned, autonomous, waterborne vehicle (500) for marine use capable of operating on and below the surface of water, said vehicle (500) including an enclosed hull (501) having a payload bay (506), a hybrid propulsion system having energy collection means (504) in the form of a wing sail (503) covered with photovoltaic cells and energy storage means (511) for utilizing at least solar energy and wind energy, a plurality of sensors (508, 514) for detecting predetermined environmental parameters and a communications system (509, 515) for transmitting data from said sensors (508, 515) to and for receiving command signals from one or more remote stations and/or cooperating vehicles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 2004
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2010
    Assignee: Solar Sailor Pty Ltd
    Inventors: Robert A. Dane, Edward Payne Kilbourn
  • Publication number: 20100175606
    Abstract: A buoyant submersible structure floating above the sea floor includes a support portion to support a load, and a gas-filled tank. The tank has an opening, and a connected tube. The tube is partially filled with seawater defining a water-gas interface at a first level. In operation, the structure is fully submerged below the water surface to a first depth. The second chamber is partially filled with seawater defining a water-gas interface at a first position inside the second chamber. Then, the buoyancy structure is moved to a second, greater depth. Water enters the second chamber to raise the water-gas interface to a second, higher level and without entering the first chamber. Subsequently, the buoyancy of the structure is adjusted to tension the cable, a support structure to support a load is attached to the structure, and then the buoyancy of the structure is readjusted.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 2, 2008
    Publication date: July 15, 2010
    Applicant: SINGLE BUOY MOORINGS INC.
    Inventor: Jack Pollack
  • Publication number: 20100043692
    Abstract: A floatation device is disclosed that comprises a container 10 containing a liquefied gas, a gas chamber (60, FIG. 2) and a remotely operable device 29. The remotely operable device is switchable between a closed state in which fluid communication between the container and the gas chamber is prevented, and an open state in which fluid communication between the container and the gas chamber is enabled and vaporisation of the liquefied gas charges the gas chamber with gas. The liquefied gas may be liquid nitrogen and the container may be heat insulated with an insulating vacuum cavity. A buoyancy unit (40, FIG. 2) which comprises a rigid enclosure (42, FIG. 2) defining an interior volume and a flexible diaphragm (55, FIG. 2) that partitions the interior volume into first and second chambers is also disclosed.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 20, 2008
    Publication date: February 25, 2010
    Inventor: Philip Anthony Pritchard
  • Publication number: 20090277370
    Abstract: A water craft (10) includes a hull (12) defining two cavities (18). An inflatable chamber (22) is arranged in each cavity (18), for displacing water from hull (12), in use, to increase the buoyancy of the craft (10). As the chamber (22) is inflated, it expands to reduce the free space available for water in the cavity (18), so as to directly expel water from the cavity (18). The chamber (22) can be deflated, in order to flood the cavity and thereby sink the craft (10). The craft (10) is intended to be operated in a normal buoyant mode and in a submarine mode, and includes propeller means (34). The craft may be in the form of a catamaran-type vessel, a jet-ski, or a submersible tank.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 2, 2005
    Publication date: November 12, 2009
    Inventor: Robin Jac Harris
  • Publication number: 20090229507
    Abstract: A submarine has a pressure hull 20 which includes a number of adjoining transparent viewing sections 21 and 22 in the shape of truncated spheres. The sections 21 and 22 are clamped to a body section 23, 24 by a cage 40 and tension rods 44 which pass slidably through a thrust ring 38 interposed between the transparent sections. Access to a passenger compartment within the pressure hull is obtained via a hatch 32 in a mid section 23. The pressure hull is housed in an external hull designed for surface cruising. Ballast tanks are formed between pressure hull and the external hull, and the tie rods pass through low pressure seals to pivotal anchorage points within the ballast tanks.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 26, 2009
    Publication date: September 17, 2009
    Applicant: ALICIA SUBMARINES, LLC
    Inventor: Paul P. Moorhouse
  • Patent number: 7290496
    Abstract: An unmanned autonomous submarine which can float, dive and move in water to perform various tasks. The submarine includes a pressurized cabin which is necessary for the diving and flotation system to work properly. This also helps to increase its sealing power against water leakage into the cabin. The submarine is autonomous, that is automatic and self controlled. It is propelled by water jet propulsion. It can be programmed to dive to preset depths, move along preset trajectories, and return to the base after completing the assigned tasks. A remote control option is provided in order to perform special tasks. The submarine is equipped with several sensors that can measure depth, orientation, attitude, location and speed. It is also equipped with an underwater video camera that can send wireless video pictures from underwater to a monitor above water surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 12, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 6, 2007
    Inventors: Khaled R. Asfar, Khalid A. Rashdan, Yasser J. Al-Alami
  • Patent number: 7255054
    Abstract: A submersible surface-planing vessel has the capability to operate with a lowered profile on surface propulsion to lessen the visibility of the vessel, and sink to the bottom for temporary storage, followed by resurfacing and dewatering to operate as a planing craft. Surface propulsion is provided by an engine system which can be totally sealed when the vessel submerges. A buoyancy system, which may include both open and closed ballast tanks, permit the vessel to sink, refloat or to be of neutral buoyancy as required. The vessel is constructed to maintain the center of buoyancy above the vessel's center of gravity irrespective of the degree of fill of the ballast tanks to maintain the vessel in an upright orientation at all times when under water and transitioning between surface and submerged states.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 2005
    Date of Patent: August 14, 2007
    Assignee: STIDD Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Robert DiGregorio
  • Patent number: 7213532
    Abstract: The present invention provides a system and a method, including a gas supply proximate to a worksite, for repetitively recharging the ballast tank of an underwater vehicle as required to control its buoyancy while moving underwater payloads.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 1, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2007
    Inventor: Steven M. Simpson