Steatite Batteries Supplies Durable Power Solution For Data Collection At 6000 Metres And Below Polar Sea Ice

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Steatite lithium thionyl chloride batteries power long-range autonomous underwater vehicles while reducing whole life costs.

Steatite Batteries helps the National Oceanography Centre’s (NOC) automatic vehicles stay underwater for longer

We used our 25 years of experience to design and manufacture a replacement power solution in-house, replacing the NOC’s alkaline and lithium polymer batteries with new lithium thionyl chloride packs.

Steatite Batteries has provided a reliable and durable power solution for the National Oceanography Centre’s (NOC) automatic underwater vehicles (AUVs), to help them stay underwater for longer.

Travelling to depths of 6000 metres on ocean research missions, the NOC’s earlier AUVs used alkaline and lithium polymer battery packs. However, with the increasing deployment demands for longer endurance of autosubs and underwater vehicles, the NOC required a fresh approach to power, so it turned to power system experts at Steatite Batteries.

Steatite Batteries worked with the NOC to develop a lithium primary solution that not only increased its AUVs’ endurance, meaning they could maintain limited deployment and recovery times by staying underwater for longer, but also reduced the whole life cost. The lithium primary power solution also offered a number of other benefits over the existing alkaline ones, including increased energy density, weight saving, higher stable head voltage and a better operating temperature range. These advantages will now allow the NOC to collect the maximum amount of data for extended periods at depths of 6000 metres.

Paul Edwards, Business Development Manager at Steatite Batteries, comments: “Lithium batteries are being successfully used in oceanographic applications but don’t have the endurance required for powering long-range underwater missions. We used our 25 years of experience to design and manufacture a replacement power solution in-house, replacing the NOC’s alkaline and lithium polymer batteries with new lithium thionyl chloride packs. These battery packs were tested to meet UN testing criteria part III 38.3 rev 5, clauses T1 – T5 and the finished solution comprises ten battery packs, giving 25.2 Volts DC @ 152Ah, that will be constructed into a frame inside a pressure vessel by the NOC for each AUV.”

For more information, or to view Steatite’s range of embedded systems and rugged products, visit or call 01527 512 400.

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About Steatite Batteries

Steatite Batteries is a leading provider of industrial batteries, including lithium batteries for downhole tools such as Sondex. Steatite Batteries is part of the Steatite group of companies, which provide Industrial and Rugged Mobile computing platforms and integrated battery solutions for customers who demand high performance and reliability in mission critical and harsh operating environments. A market leader since 1938, Steatite's success comes from our passion and commitment to deliver high quality and reliable electronic products and services customised to your precise requirements. We place a particular emphasis on providing solutions that are built to last, and that can perform in some of the world’s most demanding operating environments.

Products across the Steatite group range from battery packs for surface electronics and marine applications to electronic components, a full range of rugged mobile computers, fixed industrial computer hardware and custom embedded software solutions. With the ability to design and manufacture bespoke units to exact customer requirements, Steatite solutions are built for reliability in extreme conditions.

Sales, engineering, support and manufacturing are all based at Steatite’s purpose-built 25,000 sq ft headquarters in Worcestershire, with EMC, temperature, shock and vibration test services available at the company’s Oxfordshire site.

For media enquiries, and images, please contact James Munger on 01527 512400.

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James Munger
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