Cryogen-Free Ultra-High Field Superconducting Electric Motor

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OPEN 2021
Champaign, Illinois
Project Term:
08/05/2022 - 08/04/2025

Technology Description:

Hinetics will develop and demonstrate a high-power density electric machine to enable electrified aircraft propulsion systems up to 10 MW and beyond. Hinetics’ technology uses a superconducting machine design that eliminates the need for cryogenic auxiliary systems yet maintains low total mass. The innovative concept features a sub-20 K Stirling-cycle cooler integrated with a low-loss rotor to maintain the SC coils below 30 K. This design could enable a 10 MW, 3000 RPM aircraft propulsion motor weighing less than 250 kilograms that rejects up to 10 times less total heat to the ambient environment (>99% efficiency) and magnetic fields that are an order of magnitude higher than conventional machines. A novel coil suspension and torque transfer system cuts the cryogenic heat load by a factor of 10 to streamline the cryogenic design without the need for external coolers. The higher efficiency eases aircraft-level thermal management challenges with a factor of six to ten reduction in total heat exhausted to the ambient.

Potential Impact:

This technology can enable electrification of commercial transport class aircraft with a range of power sources (batteries, fuel cells, turbo-electric with Jet-A, and hybrids) to help meet emissions targets set by the aviation industry and global agreements.


The new technology would offer practical, high-power (>1 MW) electric propulsion systems for aircraft, establishing U.S. leadership in the fast-emerging low-emission aircraft market.


Along with light-weight energy storage and safe high-voltage distribution, high-power density generators and motors are essential for a successful transition to hybrid electric propulsion and more electric aircraft systems, which offer greater efficiency, lower emissions, and reduced noise.


The proposed technology will enable the expected strong demand for hybrid electric aircraft in the next 20 years.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Peter de Bock
Project Contact:
Thanatheepan Balachandran
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