Underwater Vehicle (UV 300)
Krypton Ocean Group is engaged in developing deep-sea mining technologies. Krypton’s engineering group has designed an underwater vehicle in three versions:
The vehicle is designated to carry out comprehensive exploration and exploitation at the depth of 6,000 m.
The UV consists of a streamlined body made from a syntactic material (a composite based on hollow glass microspheres, the density of which is less than the water density).
Ballast tanks form a multitier ballast system containing a number of tanks. The chambers of the tanks within the multitier ballast system are connected together and with the operation medium pumping system to ensure negative buoyancy for the Vehicle immersion, or positive buoyancy for its ascent, or neutral buoyancy in the course of the immersion to the specified operating depth, or for the immersion depth stabilization in case the Vehicle weight varies.
The tanks within the multitiered ballast system have flanges and portholes in walls, the axes of which are located at an angle of α = 90° to each other, where the threaded bushes are fixed. The tanks within the multitiered ballast system are connected together with the help of hollow threaded connecting bars, which connect them to the threaded bushes.
The Vehicle initial location is on the surface of the water area near the base vessel. In the course of unloading after completion of the previous operating cycle, the pump of the pumping system within the multitiered ballast system is turned on. Upon completion of the unloading and attainment of the specified negative buoyancy, the Vehicle starts a controlled dive to the sea floor. At the specified depth (5 meters above the bottom), the Vehicle is capable of moving and maneuvering while carrying out various operations in its neutral buoyancy condition.
The propulsion and shunting water-jet engines ensure autonomous movement of the Vehicle along a trajectory of a certain pathway. The work tool drive turns on and thus the Vehicle starts to collect ferromanganese nodules to the receiving tank and then transports them to the storage tank.
The work tool chains with ladles move with respect to the body using a regulated drive and, while hanging down, slide over the bottom. The ladles collect ferromanganese nodules together with a silt layer. The silt immediately runs through lattice walls and a bottom of the ladles, while ferromanganese nodules are conveyed to the storage tank. The Vehicle designed according to the above specifications is capable of surmounting any protrusions of 1.5…2 m high, without suspending the nodules collection process; the chains with ladles slide over the surface of such protrusions.
Hollows and crevices of any size shall not be treated as obstacles for the Vehicle movement, even if the topography is quite rugged, since the ladles are gimbal-mounted to the chain, making it possible to make a flexible turn in case of any contact with obstructions and return to the initial position. After the Vehicle collects the specified amount of ferromanganese nodules, it starts its surfacing in order to unload the minerals to the base vessel.
The independent power supply system of the Vehicle may comprise three separate mobile units, each of which is equipped with an engine, fuel tanks, a generator, a high-pressure pump system, a steering system, and navigation equipment. All elements of the power supply system are installed within a special container and covered with a composite syntactic material. All of them together form a one-piece unit with manholes for maintenance purposes. In case of a failure of any power-generating unit, two other units can operate for emergency ascent of the Underwater Vehicle, in case of a breakdown of two power-generating units, the remaining one is capable of conducting emergency ascent of the Underwater Vehicle. Against a possibility of failure of all power-generating units, the Vehicle is equipped with an autonomous ascent system, comprising a system of batteries capable of pumping the water out of the ballast system to ensure the Vehicle positive buoyancy. The power-generating unit maintenance operations may be carried out by means of replacement of such units and their subsequent repair aboard the base vessel.
Several Underwater Vehicles may form an integral mining and production “complex” (mobile factory). Such mining and production complex may contain several ore carriers and Underwater Vehicles operating as autonomous mining apparatuses.
Experimental UV Construction
Currently, we are at the stage of assembling an experimental vehicle for the technology fine-tuning purposes. We have placed the orders for ballast spheres manufacturing. The company is purchasing microspheres and resins for the syntactic material.
Using the experimental vehicle, we will elaborate, test and fine-tune the mining technology
Upon completion of testing of all the assemblies at the operating depth, and thorough elaboration of the vehicle zero buoyancy function and the mining tool operation, the full-size major assemblies of the experimental vehicle will be tested and subsequently used in the commercial vehicle. After that, we will complete the analysis to improve the UV