UW-APL Clean Propulsion

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $28,350

Letter of Intent:

Summary of Project Proposal

The UW Applied Physics Laboratory is asking the Campus Sustainability Fund for $28,350 to purchase an electric propulsion system from PureWaterCraft with hydraulic steering controls.  Funds from this grant will be used to bring a new technology into the UW APL which we could not do without being awarded a grant or contract specifically requiring it.  Optionally, a system supporting smaller hulls could be purchased for $19,850 if the committee prefers.

An Applied Physics Laboratory student team, working with Engineers from UW APL and PureWaterCraft, will design a mounting and control system which will allow the motor and battery pack to move easily between a multitude of hulls.  A RHIB install will be set up for transport to remote locations for rapid deployment in fragile environments.  The control systems will enable remote or autonomous control of the vessel for future research and development of autonomous systems which will be used for future student projects.

Both hulls will be clearly marked UW APL and Electric Drive Research or some other indication of alternative energy to encourage outreach.  Photos of these boats will be included in project write ups and publications which will get broad distribution.  These boats will be seen often while operating around the Seattle waterfront and Lake Washington.  

CSF funds will be used to purchase the propulsion system from PureWaterCraft.  UW APL will supply a hull for the project.  UW APL will also fund the student time for the project and individual engineers will donate the mentoring time for the installation and system test.

The UW APL is a leader in AUV development and use which requires many launch and recovery operations from small boats.  APL Field Engineers and student helpers operate vehicles that navigate underwater using acoustics that are sensitive to noise in the water.  The virtually silent propulsion system from PureWaterCraft will be ideal for tracking and recovering AUVs while the absence of exhaust makes life better for the students and Field Engineers in the boat at slow idle or station keeping waiting for a vehicle to surface.

The UW APL averages 65 Field Projects around the world every year and employs 45 students.    

Brief Explanation of how we meet Requirements & Preferences:

Sustainable Impact - Environmental sustainability

As a leader in Arctic research UW APL operates small boats in the most fragile environments in the world, locally we have small craft operating in Lake Washington frequently and moored in the lake every day.  The gas powered motors on our boats are properly maintained, however they still emit exhaust which is run underwater before rising to the surface leaving pollutants in the water and in the air.  Sensors we design or purchase can be contaminated by oil and exhaust residue rendering them inoperable.  Long before the UW Climate Action Plan was created UW APL lived in a word of “leave no trace”.

Leadership & Student Involvement

Students will lead the design and installation with oversight and mentoring

These boats will be used primarily by students and Field Engineers to deploy and recover AUVs and various other marine equipment or to support a larger vessel.

Education, Outreach & Behavior Change

UW APL is a unique position to be a technology evaluator and innovator in the regional commercial fishing industries as well as the international Oceanographic and Marine Science communities.  UW APL has a long history of being actively involved in community outreach, this is the 14th year that the UW APL has worked with the Pacific Science Center to put on the Polar Science Fair at the Science Center.  Through the Collaboratory, UW APL hosts Marine Technology startups which allows us to support them and at the same time share best practices which then spread through the industry.

Feasibility, Accountability & Sustainability

UW APL, and the mentors on this team, has demonstrated the ability to conceive, design and build systems deployed in the harshest marine environments.  We routinely manage large contracts to completion and have an excellent reputation with the U.S. Navy and other organizations.

Eric Boget, a U.S.C.G. licensed vessel operator and engineer, manages and maintains the UW APL vessels and docks.

Key Stakeholders

Eric Boget – As the head of UW APL Vessel Operations, Eric will be responsible for the vessels when released into the fleet.  Maintenance, operations and training will fall under his budget.  Eric has control over who can operate vessels and in what conditions.

Andrew Stewart – Associate Director of PMEC, the Pacific Marine Energy Center, Andy Stewart helps marine startups transition technology and has recently commissioned a UW APL vessel for renewable energy research.  As an experienced Marine Architect and M.E. Andy is an advocate for our technology innovations in Washington State and Washington D.C.

Craig McNeil – Craig, a UW APL Principal Oceanographer and Affiliate Professor of Oceanography, spends an inordinate amount of time getting equipment and vehicles in and out of the water.  As one of our most active users of AUVs Craig works with students and Field Engineers with a vehicle called a REMUS 100.

Core Project Team

Students Leads - Ian Good UW ME, Amelia Marie Barr UW ME

UW APL Vessel Operations - Eric Boget

Electronics Mentor - Steve Kahle

Mechanical Mentor - Dave Dyer

Itemized Budget

Pure Outboard Motor                         $6000

Pure Battery Pack                               $8500

Pure Charger                                       $2000

SeaStar Pro Steering                          $1600

Reactor 40 Hydraulic Autopilot         $1750

                        Total                           $19850


Optional 2nd Battery Pack                  $8500

                        Total                           $28350


Project Timeline

Submit LOI                                                                                         March 1

Submit Full Proposal                                                                         April 15

Receive Decision                                                                                June 1

Receive Funding                                                                                 June 15

Prepare hull(s)                                                                                   July 1

Design Battery Mounting System                                                      July 1

Design Control System                                                                      July 15

Receive Motor and battery pack(s)                                                    September 1

Test fit mountings and controls                                                         October 15

Water test completed system                                                             October 30


Contact Information

Primary Contact: Ian Good – Student Lead IanGood@uw.edu

Secondary Contacts: Steve Kahle – Student Mentor skahle@apl.washington.edu

Secondary Contacts: Eric Boget – UW APL Vessel Operations boget@apl.washington.edu

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Ian Good