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Lightweight, High-power Density, Self-protecting Superconducting Power Cables and Connectors for Electric Aircraft Applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: ARPA-E
Contract: DE-AR0001459
Agency Tracking Number: 1954-1689
Amount: $765,295.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: Q
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001954
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-02-23
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-08-22
Small Business Information
3082 Sterling Circle Suite B
Boulder, CO 80301
United States
DUNS: 969353734
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Danko van der Laan
 (720) 933-5674
Business Contact
 Danko van der Laan
Phone: (720) 933-5674
Research Institution

The proposed program would develop 2-pole high-temperature superconducting dc power cables and connectors with a power rating of up to 50 MW that would enable twin-aisle aircraft with distributed electric propulsion in an effort to reduce carbon emissions of large passenger aircraft. The cables and connectors will contain dielectrics that are independent of the cryogenic medium used as coolant and would allow an operating voltage of 10 kV. The cables will have the ability to protect the power distribution network from overcurrents, in which the cables have intrinsic fault current limiting capabilities, reducing the complexity of the power distribution network, while improving its reliability.
Advanced Conductor Technologies will develop coaxial 2-pole Conductor on Round Core (CORC®) dc cables and low-resistance connectors specifically for aircraft applications where size, weight and power density are key performance metrics. Dielectrics that allow the CORC® cables and connectors to operate at 10 kV will be developed by ACT in collaboration with the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The superconducting cables and connectors will be incorporated in a sub-scale power distribution network that includes the cryogenic cooling infrastructure. The performance of the power cables, connectors and the sub-scale power distribution network will be tested using pressurized cryogenic helium gas at 40 – 60 K and in flowing liquid hydrogen at 20 K at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. A successful performance demonstration would be a game changer for the development of twin-aisle electric aircraft.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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