Power and Energy Focus Area

Strategic Drivers: The increasing global demand for energy, over-reliance on foreign sources of fossil fuel, environmental issues and rising costs emphasize the need for energy security and self sufficiency. There is a critical need for greater energy efficiency, reduced consumption and alternative fuels. Increased electrical power requirements, distribution and switching are needed to support future ship designs, weapons and support systems. Reduction of our expeditionary energy footprint and personal power demands are also critical drivers.

Vision: Increase naval forces’ freedom of action through energy security and efficient power systems. Increase combat capability through high energy and pulsed power systems. Provide the desired power where and when needed at the manned and unmanned platform, system and personal levels.

Description: The guiding principles for the ONR Power and Energy Focus Area are contained in the “Department of the Navy’s Energy Program for Security and Independence” and “A Navy Energy Vision for the 21st Century.” To meet the energy challenges for the Department of Navy, ONR has partnered with the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture and all Department of Defense Services to ensure innovative, state-of-the-art, science and technology (S&T) that rapidly transitions from laboratories to military end users. New systems with higher energy densities are being enabled through new material breakthroughs and innovative architectures specifically developed for the naval environment and mobility requirements. Naval platforms are challenged with increasing electric power requirements and the necessity to transform into a more electric fleet to meet future challenges including the adoption of advanced electric weapons. Next-generation weapons systems such as phased-array radars and electromagnetic weapons operate on continuous and pulsed high power that cannot be met with today’s generation, energy storage and distribution systems. ONR has invested in technologies increasing energy and power densities and new power system architectures with the capability to instantaneously direct power when and where it is needed across the propulsion and weapons systems. In coordination with the Navy’s Task Force Energy Office and the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Energy Office, and under the guidance of the Secretary of the Navy’s mandate to sail the “Great Green Fleet” by 2016, ONR is continuing to validate new scientific testing methodologies and predictive tools to accelerate the adoption of new blends of logistic alternative fuels for use in Naval engines. We have focused research to provide the predictive tools to the force to establish timely and cost-effective alternative fuel certification in the maritime environment. Additionally, we are actively pursuing technologies and systems to achieve the goals and objectives set forth in the Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan. ONR is assuring long-endurance power for unmanned undersea vehicles for extended range mission requirements through the development of fuel cells, hybrid-electric power systems and advanced batteries.


Energy Security

  • Alternative and renewable energy sources
  • Future alternative fuels
  • Resilient power networks and systems for platforms and infrastructure

Efficient Power and Energy Systems

  • Materials, devices and architectures to increase efficiency and power density on platforms and reduce weight for personal power
  • Efficient power conversion, switching, distribution, control and thermal management
  • Efficient power generation equipment, including engines, generators, motors and actuators
  • Electrochemical, thermal and kinetic energy storage

High Energy and Pulsed Power

  • Energy storage, switching and control systems
  • Pulsed power architectures

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