Are total battery powered submarines the future?
Nevesbu has investigated the feasibility of a total battery powered submarine design. With modern battery technology the roadmap for total battery powered submarines seems feasible. Simulations with a created concept design show that with current battery technology local to medium range missions are already feasible. This makes a total battery powered submarine an interesting option for navies who want to use their submarine mainly for homeland defence. Changing the conventional diesel-electric powered submarine to a total battery powered submarine could enable more benefits than one might think.
For example, the implementation of a total battery powered system will make the propulsion of the submarine air in dependent and will reduce the signature of the submarine. This contributes to an improvement in covertness of the submarine, which is an important tactical advantage. Other advantages are: reduced amount of installed systems, less maintenance, reduced workload for the crew, and with respect to safety, the creation of total battery powered submarine has advantages and disadvantages compared to diesel-electric submarines. The use of large amounts of lithium based batteries will increase the risks of battery fires and explosions. On the other hand, the absence of the lead-acid batteries and diesel-generator sets will reduce the risk of fires and explosions as well. Furthermore, the amount of pressure hull penetrations will be reduced. This will reduce the risks of water intake and leakages.