ONR's TechSolutions creating green ideas that light up ships and submarines

February 24, 2011

ARLINGTON, Va. - One Sailor's request to replace humming fluorescent bulbs with a quiet alternative inspired the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to create the Solid State Lighting (SSL) project, currently being evaluated aboard several ships and submarines across the U.S. Navy.

A product of ONR's TechSolutions program, SSL is one of several rapid-response technologies created using recommendations and suggestions from Navy and Marine Corps personnel. (Watch TechSolutions products in action via YouTube.)

The SSL project introduced the energy-saving, nonhazardous LED fixtures on USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) in late January. In July, installation is also scheduled on USS New Mexico (SSN 779). These submarines will serve as pilot platforms to enable the Navy to measure savings achieved from SSL.

The new lighting fixtures are also being installed for testing on three surface ships: USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Chafee (DDG 90).

Although the SSL is in its early stages, the LED fixtures may one day replace existing hazardous fluorescent lights aboard submarines and surface ships. LEDs can reduce fuel use and maintenance requirements fleetwide and increase fleet readiness.

"LED lights are an immediate way to improve efficiency across the fleet," said Roger Buelow, chief technology officer at Energy Focus Inc. and principal investigator for the SSL project.

"Essentially, [SSL] lowers our workload and the amount of onboard spares that we are going to have to take on major deployments," said Chief Petty Officer Scott Brand, an electrician's mate on the New Hampshire. "That will significantly decrease the amount of space we have to consume with light bulbs."

LEDs contain no hazardous materials, unlike fluorescents, which must be stored on board until warfighters can perform expensive and intensive disposal procedures.

"The submarine community is pushing to adopt LEDs because fluorescents contain mercury," said Edward Markey, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Philadelphia Electrical Powergroup and TechSolutions technical point of contact on the SSL project. "Hazardous materials require special disposal procedures, costing the Navy time, money and space."

TechSolutions worked with Energy Focus to produce patented LED fixtures that are direct replacements for fluorescents. The replacements produce the same light output, but use half the power.

"As an example, the fluorescent version of the Berth light found in every Sailor's sleeping area runs at over 10 watts and is a legendary maintenance headache due to starter and lamp failures," Buelow said. "Because of TechSolutions, the fleet now has a qualified LED version that runs at five watts, delivers the same light output and will last for a decade without maintenance."

While Energy Focus fixtures have had a good track record on Navy ships, TechSolutions' products were the first to be fully qualified by the service. Those components met the most stringent electromagnetic interference standards, requiring innovative manufacturing methods. "Making any electrical appliance tough enough to pass Navy shock and vibration tests is a challenge," Buelow said.

The request to replace noisy fluorescent bunk lights with LEDs was submitted by a sonar technician at Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, Norfolk, Va. After realizing the potential, TechSolutions and NAVSEA decided to expand this effort beyond bunk lights to include all the T5 8W fluorescent fixtures in the forward habitability portion of the submarine.
-end-
TechSolutions works on ways to improve mission effectiveness through the application of technology. For more information about TechSolutions and to submit a request, Sailors and Marines can visit the Techsolutions website or e-mail ideas to techsolutions@onr.navy.mil.

About the Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

Office of Naval Research

Related Energy Articles from Brightsurf:

Energy System 2050: solutions for the energy transition
To contribute to global climate protection, Germany has to rapidly and comprehensively minimize the use of fossil energy sources and to transform the energy system accordingly.

Cellular energy audit reveals energy producers and consumers
Researchers at Gladstone Institutes have performed a massive and detailed cellular energy audit; they analyzed every gene in the human genome to identify those that drive energy production or energy consumption.

First measurement of electron energy distributions, could enable sustainable energy technologies
To answer a question crucial to technologies such as energy conversion, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan, Purdue University and the University of Liverpool in the UK have figured out a way to measure how many 'hot charge carriers' -- for example, electrons with extra energy -- are present in a metal nanostructure.

Mandatory building energy audits alone do not overcome barriers to energy efficiency
A pioneering law may be insufficient to incentivize significant energy use reductions in residential and office buildings, a new study finds.

Scientists: Estonia has the most energy efficient new nearly zero energy buildings
A recent study carried out by an international group of building scientists showed that Estonia is among the countries with the most energy efficient buildings in Europe.

Mapping the energy transport mechanism of chalcogenide perovskite for solar energy use
Researchers from Lehigh University have, for the first time, revealed first-hand knowledge about the fundamental energy carrier properties of chalcogenide perovskite CaZrSe3, important for potential solar energy use.

Harvesting energy from walking human body Lightweight smart materials-based energy harvester develop
A research team led by Professor Wei-Hsin Liao from the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has developed a lightweight smart materials-based energy harvester for scavenging energy from human motion, generating inexhaustible and sustainable power supply just from walking.

How much energy do we really need?
Two fundamental goals of humanity are to eradicate poverty and reduce climate change, and it is critical that the world knows whether achieving these goals will involve trade-offs.

New discipline proposed: Macro-energy systems -- the science of the energy transition
In a perspective published in Joule on Aug. 14, a group of researchers led by Stanford University propose a new academic discipline, 'macro-energy systems,' as the science of the energy transition.

How much energy storage costs must fall to reach renewable energy's full potential
The cost of energy storage will be critical in determining how much renewable energy can contribute to the decarbonization of electricity.

Read More: Energy News and Energy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.