ARLINGTON, Va. – How much impact can the hull of a U.S. Navy ship absorb during a collision with ice?
What factors influence how ice breaks when a ship strikes it – and how could this improve the design of future vessels?
How does bacteria store electricity, and is this a potential asset for power generation and energy storage?
These are some of the scientific topics highlighted during a recent awards ceremony in Kiel, Germany, honoring U.S.-German research partnerships fostered by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global.
"Germany is one of the most innovative technology drivers in the world, inspiring a healthy science and technology community at its world-class research institutions," said Dr. Patrick Rose, an ONR Global science director. "It is very important that we continue to leverage our countries' long-standing partnership to support complementary research investments."
ONR Global hosted the event with the German Ministry of Defense Warfare Center 71 for Ships and Naval Weapons – the command that tests and evaluates that nation's naval platforms. ONR Global is ONR's international arm for research sponsorships outside of the U.S., working with scientists and partners worldwide to discover and advance research to benefit the U.S. and its allies and partners.
The purpose of the Kiel event was to gather representatives from academia, ONR Global and the German navy to share thoughts about the future of maritime research. It was held aboard the visiting U.S. Coast Guard cutter Eagle, which was in port on a goodwill mission.
The ceremony honored three German scientists receiving funding through ONR Global's Naval International Cooperative Opportunities Program – which supports foreign basic research projects that align with current U.S. naval priorities. Selected scientists conduct innovative, disruptive research and have cutting-edge facilities surpassing even those in the U.S.
Two of the celebrated scientists are performing research that could enhance U.S. naval capabilities in the Arctic Ocean – where sustained ice melt is opening more commercial shipping lanes; increasing opportunities for oil and natural gas exploration; and raising potential security concerns.
Dr. Nils Reimer of the Hamburg Ship Model Basin is studying how ice breaks against ships, and Dr. Soren Ehlers of the Hamburg University of Technology is evaluating how non-ice-strengthened vessels can operate safely in icy water.
The third honored scientist – Dr. Uwe Schroder of the Technical University of Braunschweig – is researching how bacteria can store and release electrical energy, basically serving as a living battery. This could possibly offer a future power source for autonomous devices placed in the water by the Navy.
"There are brilliant scientists all over the world tackling the most difficult challenges in advanced technology development," said Rose. "These three scientists are shining examples of the possible when enabled to do great things. ONR Global is proud to sponsor such basic research efforts to deliver new technologies to our warfighters and German partners."
Attendees at the Kiel event also recognized the scientific exchange of personnel between the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and German Ministry of Defense Warfare Center 71 for Ships and Naval Weapons – via ONR Global's Engineering Scientist Exchange Program (ESEP).
ESEP enables scientists from the U.S. and a partner nation to work for a year in each other's laboratories and warfare centers. Participants gain valuable perspective on each country's research priorities and identify opportunities for collaboration.
Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.