The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), a $25-million Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001467) entitled “Next Generation of Electric Machines: Enabling Technologies.” EERE plans to issue the FOA around March 2016.
Through this FOA, AMO seeks to create future high impact manufacturing opportunities through the Next Generation of Electric Machines (NGEM) vision, which is a targeted development of high power density, high revolutions per minute motors and integrated power electronics. (Earlier post.) Specifically, this FOA targets the development of key technologies that will enable further efficiency enhancements and weight reductions in a cost effective way while addressing the limitations of traditionally used conductive metals and electrical steels.
EERE said that the FOA may include the following topic areas:
High Performance Thermal and Electrical Conductor Manufacturing. Rapid improvements in nanomaterial (carbon nanotubes) research has shown the potential of three-fold improvement in the electrical and thermal properties of metallic conductors, thus, reducing stator and rotor I2R losses significantly.
This FOA seeks methods that inexpensively increase the electrical and thermal conductivity of winding metals to provide lighter motors and generators, and in general, improved efficiency and performance of next generation electric machines.
Low-Loss Si Steel Manufacturing. Affordable manufacturability of electrical steel with 6.5 wt% silicon provides the optimum condition of reducing core losses without sacrificing the saturation magnetization level. The FOA seeks methods that inexpensively increase the resistivity of soft magnetic materials to provide low core losses in motors and generators, and in general, improve efficiency and performance of next generation electric machines.
Superconducting Wire Manufacturing. Breakthrough advancements in the in-field performance of second-generation high temperature superconductors (HTS) makes it possible to eliminate rotor resistance (I2R) losses while also enabling considerably higher flux densities than those observed with traditional steel-core machines. The FOA seeks methods that improve the current state of the art with respect to the performance/cost quotient of HTS.
Other Enabling Technologies to Improve Performance (Efficiency and Power Density). This FOA seeks the development of additional technologies such as new motor topologies, low-loss high speed bearings, high-resolution sensors and advanced controls, improved insulation and varnishing materials, soft magnetic materials other than Si steel such as amorphous, nanocrystalline and soft magnetic composites, novel cooling mechanisms etc.
The estimated period of performance for each award will be approximately two to three years.