Superconducting Aero Propulsion Motor
Superconducting electric propulsion systems will yield improvements in total ownership costs due to the simplicity of electric drive when compared with gas turbine engines, and due to greater power densities and efficiencies of electromechanical energy conversion processes. Two principal types have been considered in Naval propulsion studies that have promise for all electric aircraft. Both of these classes of motor, however, have technical risk attributes that are less than ideal with respect to reliability and efficiency: complex rotating cryocoolers for the AC synchronous machine, and low voltage (hence high current) brushed armatures for the DC acyclic (homopolar) machine. SatCon proposes a 'stationary field synchronous motor', which combines the benefits of both synchronous and acyclic motors by combining the ability to use COTS cryocoolers inherent to the acyclic motor with power transfer to the armature at reasonable voltage and current levels. This will be traded off against an AC synchronous machine using a rotating cryocooler with a novel flow management design to reduce the complexity and losses. The result of the two-phase effort will be the design, prototyping, and testing of an improved power density superconducting propulsion motor suitable for aircraft propulsion applications.
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Satcon Technology Corp
27 Drydock Ave Boston, MA 02210
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