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Advanced Circuit Breaker Tech for Power Distribution and Management Solutions


OUSD (R&E) MODERNIZATION PRIORITY: Directed Energy TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this Direct to Phase II topic is to develop and demonstrate an advanced solid-state circuit breaker that is Army Aviation qualifiable. Advanced solid-state circuit breakers can improve the capability of the Electrical Power System to intelligently manage the loads on the aircraft and reduce pilot workloads. DESCRIPTION: This is a Direct to Phase II topic. Advanced power management systems will be needed to handle the increase in demands and complexity of platform and payload electrical loads. These power management systems will require the capability to turn loads quickly and reliably on and off without requiring pilot input. Applicants should apply developments in industry of solid-state circuit breakers to develop software configurable circuit breakers and to allow the development of smart power management systems. Current Army Aviation platforms (enduring fleet) use electromechanical relays and thermal circuit breakers to control distribution of electrical power to the various on-board loads and maintain safe operation of the aircraft in the event of overloads or other failures. Today’s aircraft apply limited automated switching implemented through analog relay logic inherent in the electrical distribution system design of the aircraft. Some additional capability is provided through manual crew intervention in order to provide backup power in certain failure mode situations. Solid-State circuit breakers are currently qualified in accordance with DO-160, the solid-state circuit breakers demonstrated in this effort are required to qualifiable to Army safety standards. Application of modern electronic circuit breaker technology will provide: 1. Flexibility in setting current limits for individual loads. 2. FACE conformant and controllable software interface 3. Measurement of key load parameters (current, voltage, power factor) 4. Improved monitoring of the EPS to allow anticipation and averting of problems/failures These technologies are well-understood and applied in domains other than Army aircraft, so there is a high probability that they can be made to operate successfully on Army aviation platforms. PHASE I: This topic is accepting Direct to Phase II (DP2) proposals only. Feasibility documentation must show detailed designs or prototypes of solid-state circuit breakers for other applications. PHASE II: Demonstrate Army qualifiable electronic circuit breaker prototypes; Qualify circuit breakers for aviation platforms PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: While this topic was originally geared towards aviation use cases, this technology can be strongly applicable to electric vehicle use cases. With the proliferation of this tech, there is a higher chance of commercial EV adoption. REFERENCES: Pilvelait, Bruce Gold, Calman Marcel, Mike. A High Power Solid State Circuit Breaker for Military Hybrid Electric Vehicle Applications. 2012. KEYWORDS: Power management; solid-state; pilot workloads; circuit breakers
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