P14254: Underwater Thermoelectric Power Generation


Project Summary Project Information

An Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) is a completely untethered submersible craft that can be used for a wide array of underwater missions. One example of current UUV technology is the Echo Ranger, which is produced by Boeing. The Echo Ranger has a 28 hour mission time, which Boeing would like to increase significantly. As a means of producing additional power to augment the mission time of their UUV projects Boeing is interested in exploring thermoelectric power generation. Thermoelectrics are semiconductor devices that convert heat flow directly to electricity. Thermoelectrics suffer from poor thermal efficiency, but they are compact and durable, making them useful for remote power applications.

The goal of this project is to demonstrate proof of concept for a new thermoelectric power system suitable for use in a UUV. The power system which is developed should generate a steady amount of power to charge batteries under a range of ambient conditions. Appropriate monitoring systems will be utilized to track performance and ensure that relevant safety measures are met. The system should be of appropriate size and weight and should be contained within a waterproof housing. Testing will be used to demonstrate the achievement of project goals and appropriate documentation will be provided throughout all phases of development.

The Project Readiness Package and Project Summary give additional information on the project background and needs.

See MSD1 and MSD2 to see our design process and construction details, respectively.

Project Name
Underwater Thermoelectric Power Generation System
Project Number
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Rick Lux, ralddm@rit.edu
Primary Customer
Dr. Robert Stevens, rjseme@rit.edu
Mark Indovina and Jeff Lonneville
Team Members

From left to right:

Member Role Contact
Reggie Pierce Mechanical Engineer rdp2575@rit.edu
Zach Mink Electrical Engineer zxm2164@rit.edu
Charles Alexander Mechanical Engineer cga1574@rit.edu
Tom Christen Mechanical Engineer, Lead Engineer trc4897@rit.edu
Kim Maier Mechanical Engineer, Project Manager kam1335@rit.edu
Matt Fister Electrical Engineer mrf4271@rit.edu


Assembled Mechanical System

Assembled Mechanical System

Exploded View

Exploded View

Table of Contents - MSD 1

For a full description of Senior Design 1 see MSD1. The links below provide quick links to key content areas.
Planning & Execution Systems Design Detailed Design

Problem Definition

Project Plans


Team Values & Norms

Meeting Minutes

Problem Definition Review

Benchmarking & Research

Literature (private)

Concept Generation

Functional Decomposition

Systems Architecture

Risk Assessment

System Design Review

Engineering Analysis

Detailed Drawings

Bill of Materials(XLSX)

Test Plans

Manufacturing Plans

Detailed Design Review

Table of Contents - MSD 2

For a full description of Senior Design 2 see MSD2. The links below provide quick links to key content areas.
Planning & Execution Build, Testing, Documentation Final Project


Test Plans

Build Photos

Test Results

Assembly Instructions

Technical Paper


3D Models

Electrical Schematics and PCB

Software for Controller

Future Work