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Jet-fueled, All-electric Power and Propulsion for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-22-P-2303
Agency Tracking Number: F212-0010-0054
Amount: $149,900.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF212-0010
Solicitation Number: 21.2
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-09-06
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-09-01
Small Business Information
410 Sackett Point Road
North Haven, CT 06473-3168
United States
DUNS: 178154456
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Subir Roychoudhury
 (203) 287-3700
Business Contact
 Anthony K. Anderson
Phone: (203) 287-3700
Research Institution

Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) proposes to develop and demonstrate a fundamentally new, high efficiency, all-electric, power and propulsion concept for small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS). Key drivers are an exceptionally power-dense and robust solid oxide fuel cell, an advanced power generator with best-in-class power density, fuel-flexibility, a simple hybridized system with an energy-dense power system to meet transient loads, and a readily scalable design for various UAS groups. The approach leverages PCI’s core technologies (system design, power and control electronics, packaging). Based on recent developments, a novel combination of electrochemical and mechanical systems will be used to develop an energy dense, advanced, hybrid power generator. Hybridization will enable electricity generation with high efficiency and addresses the need for high slew rates, rapid thermal cycling, fast startup for meeting takeoff/cruise/dash/landing needs. The system will be capable of operating with energy-dense logistic jet-fuels for high system specific energy. System design options will include a tradeoff between high electrical efficiency and specific power. An initial estimate offers significant capital, operational, and capability cost savings per airframe, compared to the baseline. The system has the potential for achieving low acoustic signature, fast startup, and propulsion flexibility.  During Phase I key risks will be identified and mitigated. These include robustness, high altitude operation, acoustic signature, reliability, cost, specific power, and flight duration. If the Phase I is successful, a Phase II effort will be proposed. During Phase II, PCI plans to partner with a UAS integrator. At the end of Phase II, a breadboard power and propulsion system will be demonstrated and an airframe-integrated propulsion design developed to confirm gravimetric and volumetric targets suitable for SUAS applications. If all metrics are met, we shall propose a follow-on effort for airframe integration and flight tests.  

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

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