High Power Density Motor Equipped with Additively Manufactured Windings Integrated with Advanced Cooling and Modular Integrated Power Electronics

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Project Term:
03/01/2021 - 02/28/2025

Critical Need:

It is estimated that flights on narrow-body aircraft are responsible for nearly half of aviation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A decarbonized, narrow-body aircraft with electrified propulsion would provide the greatest impact on GHG emissions from a single aircraft type. ARPA-E seeks to mitigate the growing environmental burden associated with commercial air travel at minimum economic cost by developing elements of an ultra-high efficient aircraft propulsion system that uses carbon neutral liquid fuels (CNLFs). It is anticipated that the developed lightweight and high-efficiency all-electric powertrains will find direct application in the emerging urban air mobility, unmanned aircraft aerial vehicle, and select regional aircraft markets. These markets are likely to be the first adopters before the technology scales to a single-aisle aircraft.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Marquette University and its partners are developing the next generation of electric drivetrains for aerospace propulsion. The proposed system consists of a high-power density motor enabled by (1) an additively manufactured winding and heat pipe based thermal management scheme, (2) a modular power electronics topology, and (3) tight system integration and shared thermal management between the motor and power electronics to meet or exceed system-level targets. In the project’s first phase, the team will develop concepts, perform tradeoff studies and perform sub-component/component testing and risk retirement. Phase two will focus on component procurement, system integration, and verification testing of the technology. The proposed technology is intended to be scalable in terms of power rating, speed, and system voltage. It is expected to positively impact a wide range of applications, enabling the next-generation of hybrid/electric propulsion applications.

Potential Impact:

The ASCEND program has the potential to accelerate innovations and cause disruptive changes in the emerging electric aviation field.


The program will further enhance U.S. technology dominance in the field of high-performance electric motors for hybrid electric aviation. Electrified aircraft architectures can increase reliability by increasing redundancy.


An all-electric propulsion system operating on CNLF would have net-zero emissions and be much quieter for passengers and people in the vicinity of airports.


By targeting propulsion system efficiency and specific power improvements, CNLF-powered, zero-net emission aircraft will be capable of a longer range and reduced fuel cost, making them economically more attractive.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Peter de Bock
Project Contact:
Dr. Ayman EL-Refaie
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Raytheon Technologies Research Center
Florida State University

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