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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accelerator-themed-competition-beyond-battery-power/competition-document-beyond-battery-power
1. Beyond battery power
This Defence and Security Accelerator themed competition is looking for proposals for technologies that will reliably generate power for unmanned systems. These technologies need to be small, lightweight, modular and preferably have a low acoustic and/or infrared signature.
This competition was briefed at the CDE Innovation Network event on 1 December 2016 and at a webinar on 5 December 2016.
Your proposal must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 1 February 2017. Your proposal must be submitted to the Accelerator online.
The provision of high-grade, high-resolution information is fundamental to establishing battlespace dominance. Much of this information is delivered by the soldier on the battlefield, often in dangerous and challenging situations. The dismounted soldier is progressively required to carry more sophisticated electronic hardware but with the additional burden comes extra risk. There is an increasing use of small Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) reducing the risk and burden to military staff. However they still require an integrated electrical power supply for both movement and sensing. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) urgently needs light-weight, high-endurance, high-density electrical power for both RAS and other applications if the winning edge is to be maintained.
Through this Accelerator themed competition we are seeking novel and innovative technologies to provide electrical power that is smaller, lighter and longer lasting to address this problem.
3. Technology challenges
This Accelerator themed competition is looking for new technologies to deliver power for a number of military applications including but not limited to RAS and the dismounted soldier. For example MOD envisages a widening of RAS roles in resupply, logistics and other military functions. We want proposals for solutions to the challenge that are cost effective, reliable and robust. We’re interested in portable electrical energy delivery systems that will run for days rather than minutes and provide high density energy (to achieve 700 watts per hour per kg (Wh/kg)) but that are also small and lightweight. We’re not discounting a disposable or single use system, but it should be noted that any such system must be non-hazardous and environmentally acceptable. Despite the recognised benefits, operations using autonomous systems are limited owing to an absence of lightweight power systems in the 100 to 300W range. For example, you’d need several autonomous systems to maintain a capability for a typical 48 hour operation because they quickly run out of power. We’re looking for innovative engineering technologies and solutions to overcome this challenge of electrical power storage and delivery.
At phase 1 we’re looking for proposals where the complete system (including fuel and fuel storage if required) can achieve a target specific energy of at least 700 Wh/kg for 24 to 48 hours at representative power levels of 50 to 300 W.
Examples of target system weights and specific energies at different power levels and mission durations are given below.
|Power (W)||24hr system weight (kg)||48hr system weight (kg)|
Table: Representative system weights (kg) and power levels (watts)
In phase 2 of the competition we aim to stretch this target, so your proposal should also provide an indication of how your technology could be further optimised to provide specific energies in excess of 1000 Wh/kg and ideally achieving 1500 Wh/kg.
We’re leaving the choice of fuel to you but you must include fuel storage in the system weight estimates. If your proposal uses an external fuel source you must remember to include this in the overall weight. Beyond the power levels and system weights described above there are additional characteristics that are beneficial to defence. We would particularly welcome proposals for technologies that also have low acoustic and low thermal signatures.
So, in summary this Accelerator competition seeks proposals for innovative technologies to address the challenge of providing reliable, sustainable high power electrical output lasting around 48 hours for RAS and other applications. Your proposed technology needs to be small, lightweight, robust and reliable.
4. What we want
We’re looking for phase 1 proposals that:
- can achieve a target specific energy density of at least 700 Wh/kg for around 48 hours
- consider a system approach and include a proof-of-concept demonstration
- consider the system integration aspects and how components can be integrated into system solutions
- are cost effective, reliable, robust and provide good value for money – these could include new technologies and advances in manufacturing techniques
- include detail describing how the acoustic and thermal signature characteristics of your solution will be evaluated
- provide an indication of how the technology could be further optimised to provide specific energies in excess of 1000 Wh/kg, ideally achieving 1500 Wh/kg
You don’t have to provide the complete solution. Your proposed technology could offer part of, or an important step towards, the solution to the challenge.
We want a prototype system demonstrating the feasibility of your proposed concept. However, it is recognised that any prototype would require further development and refinement as part of the phase 2 programme of work. If a prototype system can’t be provided at the end of phase 1, you must demonstrate how the most critical components function for around 48 hours duration.
We’re looking for innovative proposals, but you should clearly state the technology developments needed to realise the innovation and the expected timescale for technology maturation.
We’ll encourage successful phase 1 projects to collaborate in any follow-on phase 2 projects.
5. What we don’t want
In this Accelerator competition we’re not looking for:
- proposals solely based on batteries or capacitors as these are already part of extant programmes
- nuclear technologies as these are considered environmentally unacceptable
- literature reviews
- paper-based studies
- marginal improvements to existing capabilities - we’re looking for innovation not evolution
- proposals that lack a clear defence benefit
- demonstrations of existing off-the-shelf technologies, unless you propose a novel modification
This competition is part of a wider Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) Disruptive Capability research project – which will feed into programmes such as Autonomous Systems Underpinning Research (ASUR).
All projects funded at phase 1 through this competition will be expected to take part in a networking event and a presentation day together with the other funded organisations. These events will provide an invaluable opportunity to meet other participants and discuss potential collaboration, with the intention of enabling a viable system demonstration at the end of the phase 2 activity. You should cost attendance at these events into your proposal.
The first event will take place in May 2017 at or near a Dstl site where you will have the opportunity to meet the other project teams that were successfully funded at phase 1 and start to develop a collaborative community. You’ll give a short presentation (just a few slides) describing your project, what you hope to achieve during phase 1 and outline what you think your phase 2 work will look like. We’re really keen to promote collaborative bids for phase 2 so you should consider how your technology needs to integrate with other solutions to deliver a final system.
The final stakeholder event will take place in December 2017 when bidders will demonstrate the successful outputs of phase 1 projects to stakeholders. At the stakeholder event you will have the opportunity to meet with a wide range of stakeholders from Dstl, Defence Science and Technology (DST) and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). Although a demonstration of the technology itself is preferred we do realise that it might be more appropriate, due to the nature of the work or potential risk involved, that a presentation, poster or video is exhibited. This will be decided on a case by case basis, however all proposals must make clear how you expect to demonstrate your proof-of-concept.
As a deliverable of the phase 1 project, successful bidders will be expected to produce a fully costed proposal for a phase 2 project which must be submitted using the Accelerator online submission service by 5pm on 5 March 2018. We aim to take forward a number of the most successful outputs from phase 1 projects for phase 2 funding. Only bidders funded at phase 1 qualify for entry into phase 2 of this competition where up to an additional £750,000 of funding will be made available. Phase 2 funding will be awarded on a per-project basis. Phase 2 projects can last up to 12 months.
We consider that commercial exploitation in the civil market is also potentially very high for the technologies we’re seeking through this competition. Dstl may share outputs from phase 1 activities with other government departments. We may also advise other parts of MOD such as the Front Line Commands (FLCs), DST and DE&S of the technology and the benefits they could offer.
Outputs of funded work may be exposed to international government partners in The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) and NATO communities (full rights version only). This is to promote international collaboration and to give projects the best chance of exploitation through exposure to a larger scope of defence requirements.
7. Important information
This competition was supported by presentations given at the CDE Innovation Network event on 1 December 2016.
Your proposal must be received by the Accelerator by 5pm on Wednesday 1 February 2017. Proposals must be submitted to the Accelerator online.
We won’t accept proposals over £100,000 and it’s more likely at this stage that a larger number of lower-value proposals (with values in the range £40,000 to £80,000) will be funded than a small number of higher-value proposals. Total funding available for phase 1 of this competition is up to £750,000. Proposals should focus on a short, sharp, proof-of-concept phase with research lasting up to 9 months in duration, with deliverables completed by the end of January 2018.
Proposals should include a descriptive scoping for a longer programme (phase 2 onwards) of any duration, but the proposal should be clearly partitioned with a costed proof-of-concept stage, which is the focus of this Accelerator themed competition.
Proposals for further work beyond the proof-of-concept stage will only be considered after the proof-of-concept stage has delivered, using the understanding gained to make an informed decision.
Proposals will be assessed by subject matter experts from Dstl. Read about how your proposal is assessed.
If your proposal is funded Dstl will be available to provide advice and/or guidance via an appointed technical partner throughout the project who will act as the interface with Dstl, MOD and the wider government stakeholder community. Deliverables from contracts will be made available to technical partners and subject to review by UK MOD-Dstl.
7.1 Ethical considerations
All research involving human participation conducted or sponsored by MOD is subject to ethical review under MOD procedures as outlined in Joint Service Publication 536 ‘Ministry of Defence Policy for Research Involving Human Participants’, irrespective of any separate ethical procedures (eg from universities or other organisations). This ensures that acceptable ethical standards are met, upheld and recorded, adhering to nationally and internationally accepted principles and guidance.
The following definitions explain the areas of research that require approval:
- clinical: conducting research on a human participant, including (but not limited to) administering substances, taking blood or urine samples, removing biological tissue, radiological investigations, or obtaining responses to an imposed stress or experimental situation
- non-clinical: conducting research to collect data on an identifiable individual’s behaviour, either directly or indirectly (such as by questionnaire or observation)
All proposals should declare if there are potential ethical issues.
Securing ethical approval through the MOD process can take up to 3 months. In this Accelerator themed competition, projects must be completed by January 2018 and obtaining ethical approval could take your proposal beyond the timeline for completion of phase 1. We, therefore, recommend that you only include research in phase 1 that doesn’t require ethical approval. Work that might require ethical approval should be planned for future phases of work which are likely to have longer and more flexible timescales.
However, if you think that your phase 1 proposal may require ethical approval, please ensure that you take an approach in your submission as follows (noting that projects must still complete by January 2018):
- milestone 1: gaining ethics approval for the project, including delivery of the research protocols (the protocol will need to be detailed by completing the ethics application form)
- milestone 2: proposed research that will be carried out subject to gaining ethics approval (optional phases to be formally invoked, where appropriate)
A contractual break point must be included after milestone 1.
The requirement for ethical approval isn’t a barrier to funding; proposals are assessed on technical merit and potential for exploitation. Successful proposals will be supported through the ethical review process; however, an outline of your research methods must be included in your proposal to help this process.
|1 December 2016||Competition briefing at Innovation Network event|
|5 December 2016||Webinar|
|1 February 2017||Competition closes at 5pm|
|End of March 2017||Phase 1 contract placement initiated and feedback provided|
|May 2017||Collaboration event for successful phase 1 projects|
|December 2017||Stakeholder demonstration event|
|End of January 2018||Latest date for the delivery of phase 1 proof-of-concept research|
|5 March 2018||Phase 2 funding competition closes|
|May 2018||Phase 2 contract placement initiated|
9. Queries and help
While you’re preparing your proposals, you can contact us if you have any queries:
Technical queries about this competition should be sent to: email@example.com
Capacity to answer these queries is limited in terms of volume and scope. Queries should be limited to a few simple questions or if provided with a short (few paragraphs) description of your proposal, the technical team will provide, without commitment or prejudice, broad yes/no answers. This query facility is not to be used for extensive technical discussions, detailed review of proposals or supporting the iterative development of ideas. While all reasonable efforts will be made to answer queries, the Accelerator and Dstl reserves the right to impose management controls when higher than average volumes of queries or resource demands restrict fair access to all potential proposal submitters.
General queries should be sent directly to the Accelerator at: firstname.lastname@example.org