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SatCon Wins Naval Propulsion Motor Technology SBIR Contract

SatCon Technology Corporation, a developer and supplier of power management and system architecture solutions for the alternative energy and distributed power markets, has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract with the US Navy to develop insulation technology for advanced propulsion motor designs for future all-electric ships.

The results of this research will have direct commercial applicability to SatCon’s electric drive and generation systems wherever power density and efficiency of the electromechanical power conversion process is a key driver. This includes hybrid and electric vehicle traction drives, mobile generator sets, and aerospace electric propulsion and power generation systems, according to the company.

New motor winding insulation techniques are necessary to balance the increasing voltage and thermal stresses associated with the drive to higher power application of pulse width modulation (PWM) driven electric machinery, particularly with permanent magnet machinery.

As a result of this research, the Company expects to develop new motor design solutions that will enable higher power density, affordable manufacturing capability, and increased reliability compared with current practices.

This award follows a December 2006 award for another Phase I SBIR contract with the US Navy to develop a bi-directional universal input/output Multiverter.

The bi-directional converter builds on technology developed for the Army Research Laboratory and can become a versatile distributed generation interface for linking shipboard energy sources such as fuel cells, batteries and energy storage sources, to the ship’s electrical distribution system, enabling more efficient operation and saving fuel.

The results of this research will also have applicability to other all-electric vehicle programs and alternative energy markets, including Plug-in Hybrid-Electric Vehicle (PHEV) vehicle applications. DC input from photovoltaic arrays, or AC input from wind or hydro generators, or stored energy from batteries can be used to provide AC output to a load or utility and in reverse the utility can be used to recharge batteries.


Michael McMillan

I remember american superconductor vying for this market a few years ago. They have a 5KHP motor the size of a dishwasher.


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