Helmholtz Association

Work Package 2300 – Power System / Energy Management

Within this work package the Components as well as the whole power system will be developed. The aim of ROBEX is to have a power system being capable to demonstrate the functionality in relevant environments (i.e. in the deep see or at lunar related areas) on field tests. The power system should be able to provide sufficient power for two landers and different mobile elements, like rover or under water vehicle (AUVs). Within the work a closer investigation will be done on the power generation, power transmission on short and long distances and the intelligent power distribution.

The major driver for the design of the power system is the limitation of available power sources in both environments. Hence both environments share a distinct synergy, due to that fact that both the landers on the moon (during the lunar night, i.e.14 Earth days), as well as the landers under water (without any light at all) have to be constantly supplied with power.

Furthermore the extreme environment conditions like the very low temperatures during the lunar night as well as the high pressure under water lead to strong requirements on the power system. Besides, some challenges are to be accomplished: Energy production without air inlet, 14 days of darkness on the moon, constant darkness in the deep sea, environmental effect by corrosion in the deep sea and by erosion on the lunar surface.

Therefore novel innovative power generation possibilities, which allow a reliable power support in both environments, have to be developed. Furthermore power transfer with appropriate interfaces has to be considered as well. The interfaces are being studied in cooperation with the working package 2100 and should establish an interface standard which simplifies the handling as well as the integration of instruments and payloads. The scope of this topic includes analyses of the contactless transfer. This system not only allows the combination of the data and power transfer with one interface but also it replaces the complex and difficult to handle plug in connector. It transfers the power from the instrument/payload carrier e.g. a lander or rover to the instrument/payload (contactless) inductive, similar to an electrical toothbrush in his charging station. This should be used in particular for recharging of mobile elements (Rover, AUVs). Development of the long distance power transfer methods between the landers is also subjected within this topic. Therefore wireless as well as cabled transfer possibilities are being investigated in, evaluated and adapted to the respective environment condition.

To be able to support different mission scenarios with one power support system, the overall system is setup modular. This denotes that the single elements of the power support system are partitioned in different sets of modules and linked up with an intelligent power distribution control. The system consists of the following modules:

  • Generation module,
  • Storage module,
  • Transfer module,
  • Control module.

Hence it is possible to respond to the different power requirements and to increase the number of generation and storage modules in an easy manner, e.g. in a case of a pending station extension. The control module will – like a smart grid for power management on earth – adjust the power to the mission requirements and distribute to the different scientific instruments as well as to the different payloads. Therefore control of the power grid should be decentralized and “intelligent”, i.e. it should be capable to calculate the power demand in dependency of the mission scenario and if it is necessary to switch off consumers.