Superconducting Power Transmission for Directed Energy Applications
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
ABSTRACT: Airborne directed energy weapons offer advantages over conventional weapons as they minimize collateral damage, reducing the cost of post-conflict reconstruction. However, the high power levels required by these weapons present size and weight challenges for airborne applications. In particular, the current capacity required of the power transmission cables can make them one of the heaviest components in the weapons system. We propose an innovative Superconducting Power Transmission (SPT) system that offers a large reduction in the weight of the power transmission system as well as a significant reduction in the losses associated with the power transmission system. We achieve these performance gains by combining multistage current leads with a superconducting transmission cable, all cooled by a multistage turbo-Brayton cryocooler. The result is a system with major gains in power density and efficiency compared with a copper cable and even compared with other conventional superconducting solutions. In Phase I we proved the feasibility and evaluated the performance advantages of our concept by designing and optimizing the system configuration for a selected set of operating conditions. In Phase II we will build a multistage current lead and demonstrate its performance in our laboratory. BENEFIT: The reductions in size, weight, and power losses, make our proposed SPT system an enabling technology for airborne-directed energy applications. The proposed technology is extremely reliable and requires little maintenance. The SPT system would also be valuable for a number of dual-use applications such as electric aircraft applications employing superconducting machines, wind turbines using superconducting generators, and high-current power distribution applications such as those used in data server and super-computing centers.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Anthony J. Dietz
Research Institution Information:
P.O. Box 71 Hanover, NH -
Number of Employees:
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Bldg.
Cambridge, MA 02139-
Michael P. Corcoran