Estimation of solar energy harvested for autonomous Jellyfish vehicles (AJVs)

Keyur B. Joshi, John H. Costello, Shashank Priya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


There is significant interest in harvesting ocean energy for powering the autonomous vehicles that can conduct surveillance for long durations. In this paper, we analyze the applicability of solar cells as a power source for medusa-inspired biomimetic vehicles. Since these vehicles will be operating under ocean waters and may need to dive at various depths, a systematic investigation was conducted to determine the variation of output power as a function of depth and salinity levels. We modeled solar energy harvested by flexible amorphous solar cell coated jellyfish vehicles by considering the variables bell diameter, turbidity, depth, and fineness ratio. Low fineness ratio shapes were found to be better for solar energy powered vehicles. Study of three representative species, Aurelia aurita (AA), Mastigias sp., and Cyanea capillata indicates that harvested power was proportional to bell diameter. Optimum power can be harvested by tilting the vehicle axis to face refracted sunrays. Depending on a swimming pattern, power harvested in charging mode and in propulsion mode could vary significantly. The model indicates that, under some circumstances, amorphous silicon solar cell may be a cost-effective way to power autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) operating in shallow-water conditions with large lateral travel distances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6009204
Pages (from-to)539-551
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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