Hybrid Direct Drive PPU with Extended Operating Range

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$124,991.00
Award Year:
2012
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNX12CE01P
Award Id:
n/a
Agency Tracking Number:
114971
Solicitation Year:
2011
Solicitation Topic Code:
X2.03
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
CO, Fort Collins, CO, 80524-4731
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
102723348
Principal Investigator:
Bryce Hesterman
Principal Investigator
(970) 482-0191
bryce.hesterman@c-pwr.com
Business Contact:
Bryce Hesterman
Business Official
(970) 482-0191
bryce.hesterman@c-pwr.com
Research Institution:
Stub




Abstract
High-power electric propulsion with Hall thrusters has been proposed as a strong candidate for Electric Path missions, but conventional power processing units (PPUs) are complicated and the mass of the discharge power converters needs to be reduced. Direct Discharge Power Processing Units (DDUs) have been proposed as an alternative due to their simplicity and low mass, but the achievable operating range of thrust and ISP is significantly limited because power regulation for DDUs is only achieved through gas flow control, array offpointing or shunting. This proposal presents a compromise between PPUs and DDUs called a Hybrid Direct Drive Power Processing Unit (HDDU) that provides a wider operating range than DDUs while reducing the mass and increasing the efficiency compared to conventional PPUs. An HDDU provides filtering like a DDU, but it can additionally raise or lower the discharge voltage over a limited range. An HDDU only processes the power necessary to raise or lower the discharge voltage. Several different converter circuits can be used in an HDDU. One approach uses an isolated high-efficiency resonant DC-DC converter with connections that can be configured through a set of electromechanical relays. Another approach uses a novel soft-switching non-inverting buck-boost circuit that requires no relays, but is a little less efficient than resonant circuits. Straight-through direct drive operation is possible with either type of converter. The proposed HDDU would operate from an input voltage of 150 V to 300 V, and would provide 10 kW output power over a limited range such as from 150 V to 500 V. The HDDU approach is readily scalable by connecting modules in parallel because both proposed circuits naturally share output currents. The modular approach and enhanced operating range increase design re-use and reduce life-cycle costs. A Phase II project could include making a more flight-like discharge supply and adding heater, keeper and magnet supplies.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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