June 25, 2015

Technical problems: Fuel Cell AIP and Hull Cutting


Illustrated by the Type 214 submarine - it shows how potentially difficult it may be to rearrange the Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) AIP and "Main components" (FCPPs) when  replacements are required. Type 214s apparently use a large hatch. But such a hatch or hull cutting may weaken the hulls of deep diving Soryus.  (Diagram originally from thaifighterclub.org )
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A SINAVY PEM Fuel Cell module. Difficult to squeeze such a large awkward item into a submarine while rearranging parts already in the submarine. The module's dimensions are 500mm x 530mm x 1.47 meters long (making for a 500mm x 530mm diagonal measurement of approximately 720mm (too big to squeeze through a torpedo tube!)
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In Comments on June 24, 2015 at 9:48 PM “S” raised the following interesting issues. I have altered some of the English for clarity:

The Japanese Ministry of Defence (MOD) was researching fuel cell AIP but decided to end this research. The MOD indicated one of the main reasons was that it could not overcome the issue of hull-cutting required when exchanging fuel cell stacks. The lifetime of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) is 40,000 hours for continuous running. But for actual submarine operations, the lifetime is expected to be shorter because of adverse effect of inevitable start-and-stop conditions. In a test taking into account realistic start-and-stop cycles the estimated lifetime of the PEMFC AIP is 2,000-4,000 hours.

[S provided the source for the above figures which is http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/fuel_cell_technology [Last updated May 4, 2015]:
“If operated in a vehicle, the PEMFC stack has an estimated service life of 2,000-4,000 hours. Start-and-stop conditions induce drying and wetting that contribute to membrane stress. Running continuously, the stationary stack is good for about 40,000 hours. Stack replacement is a major expense.
]

S added “[Lithium-ion Batteries] LIBs and Lead Acid Batteries can be exchanged through a [Soryu’s existing hatch], but PEMFCs cannot. A PEMFC is too big. It means that we would have to exchange a PEMFC by hull-cutting, which is very complicated and expensive and includes rearrangement or adjustment of hydrogen stage or delivery system. Various impacts (reduction in hull strength, life shortening, hull-cutting and rewelding periods, verification periods, increase cost, etc) must be considered every 4,000[?] hours or less running time.

[S asked the following questions]

1.  How many times do we have to cut the hull during the 22 years of operating a Japanese submarine?

2.  Should we avoid possible hull-cutting by significantly reducing the operating period of a Japanese submarine?

I asked whether squeezing the PEMFC into the submarine through a torpedo tube was possible (I measured the Fuel Cell module's recorded height (500mm and width 530mm to give a diagonal approximately 720mm - which is too big for a 533mm torpedo tube)

S responded that it might be possible to fit a PEMFC through a hatch as occurs with German submarines. 

The illustrations of PEMFC at the top of the article are probably the most helpful - also see  http://www.industry.siemens.com/verticals/global/de/marine/marineschiffe/energieverteilung/Documents/sinavy-pem-fuel-cell-en.pdf Fig.5 (page7) of and Table (page9).

MHalblaub indicated that on http://www.industry.siemens.com/verticals/global/de/marine/marineschiffe/energieverteilung/Documents/sinavy-pem-fuel-cell-en.pdf page 10 ' that a SINAVY PEM fuel cell module size is 500mm x 530mm x 1.47 meters.


COMMENT

Japan has a whole range of technical tradeoff (costs and benefits) decisions to make. For example making a large hatch in the hull to exchange PEMFCs may weaken the hull for especially deep diving Soryus.

Please connect with my article Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) Technologies and Selection, August 5, 2014 http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/air-independent-propulsion-aip.html 

Pete

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

My view is one can design a hatch for whatever the test depth is. May be one should use a larger number of smaller cells instead of fewer large ones so the hatch will not excessively large.

According to wiki, the type 212 sub's test depth is pretty high and if it uses a hatch that should not be a problem.

Personally I like the look of the type 212, not so much the type 214. The fairing between hull and conning tower is excellent and this junction will likely quieter than the 214.

Nicky said...

It looks like Thailand will finally get in on the Submarine game. Anyone want to make a bet what kind of Submarine the Thai's are looking to buy http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/603464/navy-b36bn-sub-purchase-plan-firms-up

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

there is another big difference between Type 212 and Type 214. Type 212 is built from non magnetic steel while the Type 214 is built from ferromagnetic steel. That makes a huge difference for MAD sensors. Nearly everything inside the Type 212 is build from non magnetic steel even the kitchen.

I do not think that there is a problem to exchange the fuel cells on Type 212 submarines. The first Type 212A, the U31, was commissioned in 2005. No hull cut was necessary till then. I am sure that there is at least one hatch where the Siemens fuel cells fit through. E.g. the torpedo loading hatch is far bigger than the standard torpedoes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nThnmbim3Xg&feature=youtu.be&t=48m
The Dolphin 2 class submarines have 650 mm tubes.
Here the modules: https://youtu.be/X7czrSYhdBk?t=7m

The first trails with an AIP on a submarine were performed 1988 on U1 (Type 205).
It takes about one week to weld two submarine sections together. I think HDW and Siemens did thought about that problem early on.

Regards,
MHalblaub


Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

here is another video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nThnmbim3Xg&feature=youtu.be&t=48m
There you can see how a torpedo is loaded inside a Type 212 submarine. The torpedo is first loaded inside a container and after that lowered inside the submarine (50:00). At 50:40 you can see the captain speaking right by the side of an empty container. This is not a torpedo tube. So the torpedo hatch is far bigger than a normal torpedo.

I guess Siemens and TKMS were smart enough to build fuel cells fit through one or another hatch;-) I would not believe that Japan is not capable of doing it. There must be another reason.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Thanks very much for Bangkok Post report June 25, 2015 http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/603464/navy-b36bn-sub-purchase-plan-firms-up . It is odd how quickly Bangkok Post contradicts June 25 report:
“The 36-billion-baht [US$1.066 billion] budget covers two submarines, as well as maintenance and training of the navy's personnel. Some reports say China has offered special, undisclosed packages to win the deal. Sources in the navy said there are two short-listed countries. China is the No.1 option, followed by South Korea."

The very next day June 26, Bangkok Post reports http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/604452/chinese-win-bid-to-supply-subs-to-navy 3 Chinese submarines:
"The navy has picked Chinese submarines costing 12 billion baht [US$355 million] each to be commissioned in the force, a source on the procurement committee says. The majority of the 17-strong committee voted to buy three Chinese submarines, saying it was the "best value for money".

I'll write more in a future article.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I heard a rumor that TKMS will offer down grade version of Type 216 submarine to Australia. Does TKMS share non-magnetic hull [1] technology with Australia?

[1] http://dew.edelstahl-e.com/upload/binarydata_ewkinterd4cms/63/34/00/00/00/00/3463/Datenblatt_3964_UK_.pdf

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

Yes TKMS did well to anticipate the need for large enough hatches.

Japan will need to decide between the ability to dive deeply or resolve the larger hatch problem.

Regards

Pete


Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [of June 25, 2015 at 11:54 PM]

Your idea is a good one of using "a larger number of smaller cells instead of fewer large ones so the hatch will not excessively large."

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Re "TKMS will offer down grade version of Type 216 submarine to Australia." The offer of a 216 is pretty well known. It may well be possible TKMS is offering different sized sub solutions.

"Does TKMS share non-magnetic hull technology with Australia?" Unlikely because it was Kockums not TKMS-HDW that won the Collins tender. I haven't located information about non-magnetic hulls in Australia.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Dear S, Dear Pete,

I think it is a matter of what Australia wants to pay for its submarines.

The PN 18 S2 steel used to build the German submarines like Type 206 or Type 212 is not produced by TKMS. The Kobben-class (Type 205/207) and Ula-class (Type 210) were both built in Germany and may also consist of non magnetic steel. This might be the reason why several of these old submarines are still in service at several Navies.

This type of non magnetic steel could be much more expensive than "normal" steel.

Colombia operates 2 Type 206A and Poland 4 Type 207. Indonesia once thought about buying 5 Type 206 and Thailand was interested about 6 Type 206 (price was 180 million Euro for 6 submarines).

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

MHalblaub,

Thanks. I am aware the type 212 uses non magnetic steel. I think PN18 and Amanox are high content stainless alloys

I also notice the diving planes on the type 212 is on the tower (similar to the Los Angeles) while on the 214 they are forward on the hull. On the Virginia, I cannot find diving planes on the tower or hull.

I mentioned the fairing between the tower and hull on 212 as it is similar to the Virginia while the earlier Los Angeless class does not have any fairing like the 214. Coming from an aerodyamic background, the fairing between wing and fuselage is important from a drag perspective. The Froude numbers here are different but I can speculate a fairing will create less turbulence and less noise.

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
It Looks like China, beat out Germany, France, Sweden, South Korea and Russia on the Submarine Game. The 17 member committee was split between France and South Korea but I think they liked what China was offering them. Here's the News Links
http://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/thailand-buy-3-submarines-china?singlepage=true

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/604452/chinese-win-bid-to-supply-subs-to-navy

I think what Thailand is getting is a export version of the Yuan class Submarine called the S-20 Submarine. What's your take on the Yuan class Submarine and the S-20 class Submarine.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Well researched.

June 25 aticle http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/603464/navy-b36bn-sub-purchase-plan-firms-up talked about only two subs then

June 26 article http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/604452/chinese-win-bid-to-supply-subs-to-navy talked about THREE subs. 17 member committee was split between Germany (not France) and South Korea as second choices.

The Navy's decision needs to be decided on or confimed by cabinet (which includes the all important Army) in July. So there is still a possibility Germany or S Korea may finally be chosen.

Very true that the S-20 export version of the Yuan is possible but two or three? Three new subs (with support and training) for US$One Billion is amazingly cheap. Might they be old refurbished Yuans? With or without AIP? (which normally cost around US$100 million per AIP unit).

My post of March 25, 2015 http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/thailand-may-be-next-to-purchase.html anticipated Yuan class :
"On March 25, 2015 the Bangkok Post http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/508086/submarine-plan-resurfaces-with-backing-from-prawit reported a rise in Thai interest in submarines: "A plan to buy submarines for the Royal Thai Navy is on again with strong backing from Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who wants Thailand’s fleet to be on par with neighbouring countries. [The Thai Navy may want] two diesel-powered submarines with displacement of 2,400-3,000 tonnes. The source said the Chinese-made Yuan class is favoured by the committee due to its specifications. The "U-class" [do they mean U-209 class?] from South Korea and Germany also pinged the sonar screen."

Well covered :)

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

The possible China sale to Thailand you have identified, is worthwhile me doing as a separate article - which I will do now.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [on June 27, 2015 at 12:27 AM]

Thankyou for the information on steel - a subject I know little about. I'd assume countries outside of Germany would build subs with non magnetic steel. For example Russia's now retired/mostly retired Titanium hulls were meant to be non magnetic and deep diving https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarine_hull#Dive_depth .

212 non-metallic steel may have originally been manufactured by Krupp Thyssen
Nirosta GmbH. http://image01w.seesaawiki.jp/d/e/doramarine/ca0e41d83a5d1f11.pdf

And now by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outokumpu_Nirosta or plain http://www.outokumpu.com/de/unternehmen/Seiten/default.aspx

Odd that with increasingly miniaturised electronics and lower crew sizes that small 500 ton subs are being phased out.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete and Dear S,

the steel was produced by Phoenix-Rheinrohr-Stahl mill: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_AG_f%C3%BCr_Bergbau_und_H%C3%BCttenbetrieb
ow
Phoenix AG is owned by Thyssen-Krupp and the steel is distributed by Nirosta AG.

According to your article the PN 18 S2 steel is today standardized according to http://www.beuth.de/de/norm/wl-13964-2/66171539.
steel type according to EN 1.3964
More information about the steel's properties: http://www.bohler.de/german/files/downloads/P501_DE.pdf

So it seems S and I both were right. PN 18 S2 is now sold produced according this standard: WL 1.3964
(see also: http://www.beuth.de/de/norm/astm-a-320-a-320m/236652798;jsessionid=N1MU1IBPMKOI0AAR4621L6C7.3?)

Titan is not non magnetic. Titan is paramagnetic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramagnetism
That is only for scientific issues. For practical use as submarine steel Titan is as good as 1.3964.

It is not cheap to use Titan but it might have been easier for the Soviet Union to produce Titan than to produce a high grade steel type.

Deep diving depths keeps you secure from piston driven torpedoes. Exhaust pressure has to be higher than surrounding water pressure.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

Thanks for your June 29 explanation and references. I find the Russian Titanium issues particularly interesting. An exercise in revealing current (or near current) Russian details would draw alot of interest including:

- what Russian companies make submarine steel or Titanium alloy?

- are these Russian companies associated with Western companies?

- did Russia ever stop using Titanium or does Russia now rely on is HY-100 steel?

- Titanium-Steel alloy?

- what are the alloy constituents?

- better feel for Russian shipyards and bases

- capabilities-functioning of Russian torpedos (how deep are they effective)?

Russian readers of this blog are welcome to add details. Putin permitting :)

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

I doubt that export submarines are built using Titanium. Far to expensive!

The Russian do use a hypergolic propellant (Kerosene + hydrogen peroxide) for torpedoes (remember the Kursk!) with a turbine propulsion for propellers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergolic_propellant

The Mark 48 uses Otto-2 monopropellant fuel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_fuel_II

So both torpedo types will suffer speed and range losses from operating at great depths.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I found following information of titanium in Russia [1].

1. What Russian companies make submarine steel or Titanium alloy?
1.1 VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation (http://www.vsmpo.ru/en/) used to make submarine titanium alloy in former Soviet Union.

1.2 VSMPO-AVISMA is Gulliver in Russian titanium industry and 90% of proucts is titanium. VSMPO-AVISMA used to manufacture titanium products for submarine. Only three company (VSMPO-AVISMA (Russia), TIMET (US), ATI(US)) can have a seriese of titanium sponge production process, ingot production process and titanium products (plate, coil, etc) manufacturing process in the world.

1.3 Application of VSMPO-AVISMA according to 2011 report: Russian Technology for titanium manufacturing is highly appreciated.
1.3.1 Export: Air plane (35%), Aviation engine (12%), general industry (47%), pharmaceutical (6%)
1.3.2 Former Soviet Union: Aviation/Space (25%), Aviation engine (37%), marine/ship building-parts (22%), general industry (16%).
1.3.3 Customer: Airbus, R&R, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, etc.

2. Are these Russian companies associated with Western companies?
VSMPO-AVISMA and Boeing co-developed new titanium alloy, Ti-5553 which is adopted for Boeing 787. They established a joint venture, Boeing Ural Manufacturing near VSMPO, Russia.

3. Did Russia ever stop using Titanium or does Russia now rely on is HY-100 steel?
No, Russia does not build titanium submarine anymore.

4.What are the alloy constituents?
4.1 Soviet: Not avaiable
4.2 USA: Ti-6AI-2Nb-1Ta-0.8Mo (UNS R56210); Tensile yield strength is 655-827MPa. Developed around 1956 for US deep submarine [2].

Russian readers of this blog are welcome to add details. Putin permitting :)
[1] “Research report on Titanium Industry in Russia” (Japanese) by Japan Association for Trade with Russia & NIS. http://db2.rotobo.or.jp/members/all_pdf/m201304No.03gku.pdf
[2]https://books.google.com.au/books?id=x3rToHWOcD8C&pg=PA321&dq=Ti-6AI-2Nb-1Ta-0.8Mo%E3%80%80(UNS+R56210)&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAGoVChMI_OHHv-rQxgIVwx-mCh0jwgM9#v=onepage&q=Ti-6AI-2Nb-1Ta-0.8Mo%E3%80%80(UNS%20R56210)&f=false

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thanks so much for your July 11, 2015 at 1:23 AM in response to my June 29, 2015 at 9:55 PM questions.

Your:

"1." Thanks for locating VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation.( http://www.vsmpo.ru/en/ ). I imagine Russia no longer use Titanium (Ti) in its subs due to the high prices of mining and processing Ti and high cost of fabricating 1,000s tons of Ti for one submarine. High cost of paying and retaining post Soviet (early 1990s on) Ti specialists/scientists and technicians/workers after Russia cancelled most of its submarine builds in the 1990s.

Looks like VSMPO-AVISMA is still producing many Ti products http://www.vsmpo.ru/en/pages/Produkcija like (high strength, heat resistant) blades for aircraft turbo-fans. As you have identified at "1.3.3 Customer: Airbus, R&R, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, etc."

I wonder if China will get into the Ti for submarine business in the long term?

"2" is interesting with VSMPO-AVISMA and Boeing joint venture. As the value of Russia's oil and gas exports has declined by unit price Ti provides an increasingly important high value mineral and manufacturing industry for Russia.

"3" It will be interesting to see what HY or equivalent steel for submarine pressure hulls that Russia produces.
Whether Russia produces a higher HY steel for Russian Navy Kilo SSKs and what HY steel is for export Kilos (if different).
What companies?

"4. What are the alloy constituents?" Difficult to find info on Russian web. Maybe found in the same place as Russian HY info.

I'm currently putting together info on what Russian companies are involved in the latest Russian torpedo projects including Lomonos and Fizik
see
- http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=386996 and
- http://rusnavy.com/news/navy/index.php?ELEMENT_ID=14676

Thanks again.

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I found interesting formation of Indian submarine[1] from Russia.

[1]http://defence.pk/threads/a-complete-information-on-russian-offer-of-indian-amur-1650-analysis.367760/


Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thanks for http://defence.pk/threads/a-complete-information-on-russian-offer-of-indian-amur-1650-analysis.367760/ .

It appears to be a huge Russian marketing brochure - possibly more photos than program progress.

If Russia wants to sell the Amur-Lada to Pakistan or India Russia needs to resolve the Russian weakness of having no mature AIP.

I republished the India nuclear subs projects article at bottom of http://defence.pk/threads/a-complete-information-on-russian-offer-of-indian-amur-1650-analysis.367760/ in May 2015 at
http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/indias-unnamed-project-for-6-ssns-begins.html

India is big on nuclear sub plans but very small on program delivery for nuclear or conventional subs.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I found additional formations of Russia and China submarines

Question: I wonder if China will get into the Ti for submarine business in the long term?

China should satisfy following conditions [1] for Ti alloy submarine. China is nearly clearing hurdles 1.1 and 1.2, but highest hurdle 1.3 is remained.
1.1. Massive amount of titanium (tens of thousand tons of titanium): China produces sponge most in the world [2,3]. China can get massive amount of titanium ingot.
1.2. Development of titanium alloy for submarine: China already developed Ti alloy for submarine (TA5-A: 25-40mm in thickness, 0.2% proof strength 588N/mm2=588MPa)[4].
1.3. Manufacturing technology of wrought products, casting technology of bulk Ti alloy material, welding technology: No information available, but huge machines and highest technologies including gas tungsten arc welding are required.

Question: Whether Russia produces a higher HY steel for Russian Navy Kilo SSKs and what HY steel is for export Kilos (if different).
What companies?
2. I heard AK-25(proof strength 60kg/mm2) for Kilo, AB-2 (65kg/mm2) for Lada, AK-29 (80kg/mm2) for Victor, AK-33 (100kg/mm2) for Akula, but I do know detail.

Question: What are the alloy constituents?”
3.1. Not available
3.2. Russia will restore the titanium submarines [5].

[1] http://db2.rotobo.or.jp/members/all_pdf/m201304No.03gku.pdf, Page29
[2]ibid, Page33, Figure 1 ”Production of titanium sponge of Russia(blue), China(red) and Japan(black) in 2001-2011, excluding USA”
[3] “Titanium Sponge Supply” http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.titanium.org/resource/resmgr/2010_2014_papers/DewhurstPhilip_2010_WorldInd.pdf,
Page8.
[4] http://image02w.seesaawiki.jp/d/e/doramarine/ec0e535bbde7b2dc.pdf, page1 Table3 Chemical composition, page2 Table 4 mechanical properties.
[5] http://translate.google.com.au/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://izvestia.ru/news/546019&prev=search

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thanks for answering the China Ti questions so quickly.

I'm doing an article about India submarines next.

Meanwhile I'll to turn the figures you have provided into HY (psi) values using http://www.tiniusolsen.com/resource-center/mpa-psi.html .

I'll then turn the Russia-China Ti developments information you have provided into an article.

Regards

Pete