PowerGenix Helps USDHS Team Win ROV Competition

June 12, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

PowerGenix Corp. (San Diego, CA), a developer of rechargeable nickel-zinc (NiZn) batteries, recently assisted local high school students from the University of San Diego High School (USDHS) to win a regional competition of underwater remote operated vehicles (ROVs) by providing them with its PowerGenix NiZn batteries. The batteries enabled the team to incorporate an on-board power module, eliminating the need for bulky power cables between a land-based power source and the ROV, which greatly increased maneuverability as it was piloted through a series of complex tasks during the competition.

The regional event was held at the UCSD Natatorium and sponsored by the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center in partnership with the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Sonny Carter Training, which is designed to increase awareness of marine technical fields and to encourage students to develop the necessary skills for a career in marine technology.

Team members Juan Batiz-Benet, Michael MacIntyre, Nicholas Prsha and Dominic Schmied designed and developed the ROV using their own money, scrap parts and a few donated pieces of equipment. The team faced the challenge of relocating the primary power for the ROV, from an external "topside" location that consisted of bulky lead-acid batteries, to a location onboard the ROV itself. The team wanted the advantages of onboard power, but needed to incorporate it into the design of the vehicle in a way that didn’t compromise the buoyancy or maneuverability of the ROV. The PowerGenix NiZn battery packs were packaged in a water-proof container and attached to the vehicle, providing plenty of onboard power and enabling the use of a more sophisticated propulsion system.

"These students are our future engineers and scientists," stated PowerGenix CEO Dan Squiller. "Their ROV was an amazingly sophisticated system and we were more than happy to donate our batteries to the USDHS team. We are thrilled that they were able to contribute to the winning design of their ROV. These sophisticated systems are prime examples of applications that can greatly benefit from the lighter weight, higher power and environmental friendliness that our nickel-zinc battery offers over other battery technologies currently available such as nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride."