25 m Submarine as Platform for AIP Engine

Topics discussed here:
Dear Mr Wilfried Ellmer,

We are ...... developers of a new AIP propulsive power engine. Firstly, we would like to congratulate you on your efforts to date in C-sub construction. We are presently in final stages of a manufactory ready engine prototype and we have been reviewing candidate submarine types and construction for a proof of concept vessel. In our research we have determined that a submarine of concrete construction is the best most suitable choice for this purpose.

We have based our prototype facilities in Asia and once we have completed the final bench trials we would like to begin construction on a C-sub using our AIP engine as propulsion mains and power. Would you have interest in discussing your construction of a C-sub at our yard here in Asia of a size of approximately 25 - 27 meters LOA with a main drive of 80 - 100kw .

In general terms - YES, i am interested. I am free and willing to go to asia and work there on a c-sub concept vessel. All depends on the project specifics and working conditions. Let me hear more about it...
Thank for your reply and we are please to note you have an interest in this project..

We expect engine test trials to be completed toward end September this year. After which time we would begin on design and construction of the proof of concept C-sub. The idea for this vessel is as an engine test bed as well as a functioning submarine to showcase the engine and it's capabilities in a real world application for which it is intended. The vessel specifications are still in the study phase as to intended range, crew and depth, etc however, at present our thoughts are range of about 500 NM, crew ?, depth ~250ft, speed (submerged) ?. As to speed we would like as fast as possible as the power to weight ratio would be favorable as we are not limited by battery power as other PSUBs this is to be one the engine's strong marketing points. The engine of course has numerous applications, as does any engine, ie., generators, pumps, vehicles, etc however, as an AIP engine we feel it's logical demonstration application would be best suited in a submarine as a showcase.

In the interim of the test trials we would like to explore with you ideas and concepts as well as costs and your remuneration and conditions for this project. As to environment we would be constructing at a suitable ship yard with launching facilities but unlike the West we are able to construct without interference from the shipyard management should we so desire simply leasing that portion of the yard or slipway. Cranage and other machineries, machine shops etc are readily available.

End of September would be an acceptable time for me to move. What country would the shipyard be ?

Is the submarine intended for military use or as a civilian ship for submarine yacht use, salvatage, etc...?

The specifications you mention do not seem to be very ambicious - 500 nautical miles is little range even compared with WW2 diesel subs i asume this depends more on your engine and its specifics than on the sub.

A dive depth of 250 feet is easily achiveable.

The speed is basicly given by length / diameter ratio from displacement hull formula as for any submarine. As a rough calculation put the speed of a similar sized heavy surface ship and add a little extra for lack of wave resistance this is what you will get from a clean streamlined submarine hull.

For basic calculation i would suggest you take some 50% of the displacement for hull weight and still have some 50% of the displacement for AIP Engine, fuel, machinery, load and ballast.

What kind of AIP Engine we are talking about ? Sterling, Walter, Fuel Cell, Diesel recycle...

Does the engine require that we build the boat around it or design it seperable in sections, or can we build in the engine - after hull is terminated - trough the hatch or a provisorial opening.

What would the boat be marketed for ?

The cost of the hull depends widly on how many viewports are needed - if any -, what grade of complexity the forming is going to be. The needs of concrete testing, guarantee, clasification which comes with extra cost. If those factors are in general fafourable - as it should be in concept testing you can calculate crude hull construction cost at a base of 331 Euro/ton of displacement.

Viewports, machinery, shipyard rental all this are calculations apart i can not give you the numbers for at this point.

What concerns my remuneration - make an offer. My conditions are basicly: i want to live near the shipyard in acceptable conditions, bring my wife with me and have the posibility to visit my kids living in colombia during vacations.

What time frame you are planning for this project ? What would my position be ? How many workers, engineering team ? Is Budget solid ?

Let me hear your thoughts...

The countries in which the shipyard would be used and which we have used before are in Thailand, Malaysia or China though for numerous reasons China is becoming problematic.

As mentioned the submarine is a proof of concept platform for the AIP engine. We are in the engine business. Our engine design is proprietary though not dissimilar to IAV's Enginion and it is only by coincidence of the engine concept and design is it an AIP engine. Therefore it is our intent to demonstrate this property of AIP to showcase the engine versatility by driving a submarine submerged for significant distance, which would be a feat not easily ignored by the media or marketplace. Your statement about 500 NM as being little range was my opinion as well so thank you for that input as I will certainly push for an increase in range again at the next planning meeting. We understand that 250 feet depth was not very deep is agreed however since the waters in this region seldom gets deeper than that we are satisfied with this depth for the first model.

- The engine can be placed in after hull fabrication if desired through a hatch..

- At present we have no plans of marketing submarines however, should this prove successful, as we believe it shall be, we may consider a subsidiary for submarine production. (in fact most of our mgmt are quite keen on the idea)

- Viewports though nice are not a critical component of our purpose for the submarine however, that is why we would bring someone such as yourself into the design and construction for this type of guidance.

- Fair question the budget is quite solid however, note we not intending to make a Virginia Class sub either. We have sufficient fiscal resource for the purpose intended which would be defined as a good quality, safe, attractive C-sub with sufficient range and speed to accomplish the task of showcasing the engine in this role. The idea would be to take the submarine between to major Asian centers such as Singapore to Hong Kong (hence the range increase would be valid) with media, surveyors etc at both ends documenting the endeavour. To our knowledge no private submarine has accomplished such a feat.

- Very well, as to remuneration now that we know you have genuine interest we shall consider an offer with accomodation and spouse with annual return airfare.

- Time frames, workers etc for submarine construction are as yet still in planning as our focus is the engine development completion. Any input in these areas you may wish to provide would be of assistance in this regard.

Thailand or Malaysia as building site is OK for me.

The connection AIP Engine - submarine is the most inspiring connection i could imagine - in fact Jules Vernes Nautilus was based on a mysterious AIP Engine - still to imagine - in his time...

So i agree that nothing would catch more media attention than a modern Nautilus in a attractive yachty streamline shape making Jules Verne vision a modern days yacht reality.

The simple fact to enter a harbor in such a boat will get you immediate media attention and newspaper front pages - this would be worth millions of dollars in marketing .

No invitation to a engine demonstration will be missed if it comes with a trip on a modern version of Captain Nemos Boat.

It might also be a good idea to announce a round the world trip [after finishing the Asia mission] to bring the message of the new AIP Engine to mayor populations centers around the world.This would have a notorious impact.

What concerns range it is not that critical, as you can perform ocean crossings with the help of ocean currents. So if the range is 500 NM it would be enough to make the sub going around the world anyhow - using currents for long distance crossings as marine animals do.

Dive depth of 250 feet is easily achievable with a concrete hull. The weak point, that limits the dive depth, would be the viewports.

So if engine demonstration and marketing is main intention i would suggest to have a couple of viewports because the light that comes in trough those viewports gives the atmosphere of a blue cathedral with light reflecting on the walls. A proper ambient to show a brand new piece of futurist tecnology.

I visualize the interior of the sub with the AIP engine standing completely free - this would make a engine demonstration a mayor event in a unforgettable submarine atmosphere directly deducted from Jules Vernes best.

Having seen the impact that my prototype caused on its test lake, i would not wonder if we end up with building orders for submarine yachts with AIP Engines before finishing Asia promotion tour.

If engine can be built in trough a hatch or a relative small opening we also have the option to build the hull in colombia and ship it to the engine development site on its own keel with a provisorial diesel engine.

Let me hear your thoughts...

Thank you for the .gif we liked it. This is more or less what we also had in mind. Sorry we did not reply earlier however, I have been traveling and my emails have backed up.

The project is very much on but as mentioned it won't be before September that the submarine would be taken up for issue. We are considering your requirements. Though any input such as the .gif you sent is of value as it gives us data to focus on in the interim. Just like persons everywhere even though it may not be on the board table now it still gets a lot of topic discussion and decisions are being made through informal discussion and an education process is ongoing which is a good thing.


No problem, anything has to develop on its proper velocity i have no hurry in that - as i was manager in multinational companies i have a general idea of how projects develop. You mentioned that the project is in discussion phase.

As an additional input - I am currently negotiating over a friend a submarine TV series with a canadian TV company. A Jules Verne Voyage as mentioned - with your AIP engine as a main actor - might be useful in your promotion plan - anyhow it is ok for me to keep the AIP project apart ...whatever...

A Canadian TV program would be nice however, it is a bit early for us to consider something such as this but a good idea none the less. I concur that would be the way to exhibit a Jules Verne type voyage.
The meeting with the TV producer in Toronto for a submarine series will be next week, i am not sure what will come up there. My buddy Floyd from Australia is the motor behind this project - I communicated that you might have a "general interest to discuss options " if a serious project comes up...there is still no plan and no schedule...i keep you posted.
20.May - project ongoing
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