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NRL's model of a Rotating Detonation Engine  (Source:
Currently, the Navy has 129 ships with 430 gas-turbine engines that burn $2 billion of fuel annually

The U.S. Navy is working on new technology for its gas-turbine engines in order to decrease fuel consumption without sacrificing performance.

The answer, according to the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), is equipping current gas-turbine engines with Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE) technology. These engines could not only efficiently provide propulsion for Navy planes and ships, but also create electricity for an all-electric propulsion system.

The Navy currently uses gas-turbine engines that are based on the Brayton thermodynamic cycle, where air is compressed, combined with fuel, combusted at a constant pressure and expanded. This allows for propulsion or generating electricity, just like the RDEs. However, the Brayton cycle is less efficient than the detonation cycle.

Dr. Kazhikathra Kailasanath, head of NRL's Laboratories for Computational Physics and Fluid Dynamics, noted the following in a 2011 paper for the NRL Review:

The challenge with detonation engines is realizing the efficiency of the detonation cycle. Concepts such as oblique detonation-wave engines have failed to be able to recover the efficiency of this detonation cycle, because much of the energy of the inflow is bound up in kinetic energy, which does not increase the pressure and thus does not improve the efficiency. Pulse detonation engines have taken a different approach by creating an unsteady process that removes the requirement of having high velocity inflow. This creates a whole new set of issues, such as rapid initiation of detonations and the requirement of efficient detonators.

The rotating detonation engine takes a different approach toward realizing the efficiency of the detonation cycle. By allowing the detonation to propagate azimuthally around an annular combustion chamber, the kinetic energy of the inflow can be held to a relatively low value, and thus the RDE can use most of the compression for gains in efficiency, while the flow field matches the steady detonation cycle closely.

Currently, the Navy has 129 ships with 430 gas-turbine engines that burn $2 billion of fuel annually. By equipping engines with RDE technology, power could be increased by 10 percent while fuel consumption would decrease by 25 percent. The Navy could also save $300-$400 million annually.

Source: U.S. Navy

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RE: .
By danjw1 on 11/3/2012 11:11:12 AM , Rating: 2
A nuclear reactor isn't going to stop anyone from shooting at a ship, if they already intend to.

Other than that, I actually agree with you. Seems like if they power submarines with nuclear power, they should be able to fit a nuclear power plant into a destroyer or frigate. This reduces the requirement for traditional fuel, something the military is trying to do these days. It reduces emissions, to zero. It reduces resupply needs. I think it at least deserves analysis over the lifetime costs versus traditional power sources.

RE: .
By Solandri on 11/3/2012 11:45:24 AM , Rating: 2
Nuclear power on submarines gives them the capability to operate indefinitely while submerged (not only providing propulsion, but generating their own oxygen and fresh water). That's enough of an advantage to tip the cost balance in nuclear's favor on smaller vessels.

Pretty much all the USN's larger ships are already nuclear powered. It's the smaller ships like destroyers and frigates which are gas turbine powered because the economics of uranium light water nuclear reactors don't scale well at the small end. Someone suggested thorium reactors, but that'd be a whole nother ball of wax requiring tens if not hundreds of billions of initial R&D. I'd agree the USN would be a good place to research and test it, but it involves a level of commitment to the technology which (sadly) I think the country currently lacks.

RE: .
By Jeffk464 on 11/3/12, Rating: -1
RE: .
By SPOOFE on 11/3/2012 5:51:48 PM , Rating: 3
The amount of radiation they "suffer" from will be orders of magnitude less harmful than the diarrhea of the stupid that you seem to constantly spew.

RE: .
By Reclaimer77 on 11/3/2012 6:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
They would be dead anyway. The damage required to actually impact the reactor, would be MORE than sufficient to sink the entire ship anyway.

Here's a crazy thought exercise, raise your hand if you would feel safe in a warship with a nuclear reactor.


Now raise your hand if you would feel safe in a warship with 50,000+ gallons of highly volatile diesel fuel in tanks mere feet from the exterior hull.

RE: .
By FITCamaro on 11/5/2012 8:15:29 AM , Rating: 1
There people go using logic again.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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