Ultra-Light, inTegrated, Reliable, Aviation-class, Co-Optimized Motor & Power converter with Advanced Cooling Technology (ULTRA-COMPACT)

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Program:
ASCEND
Award:
$2,560,137
Location:
East Hartford,
Connecticut
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
05/01/2021 - 11/09/2024
Website:

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:

Small regional aircraft operations are challenged by high fuel cost, noise restrictions associated with small regional airports, and high maintenance cost of twin gas turbines. A battery/gas turbine hybrid series small regional aircraft, enabled by ULTRA COMPACT driven propulsors, addresses these issues, and could reduce passenger mile energy consumption. The Raytheon Technologies Research Center proposes ULTRA-COMPACT to improve the electric-to-shaft power electric drive train and demonstrate feasibility of a turbo-electric distributed propulsion-based electrified aircraft propulsion (EAP) system. The ULTRA-COMPACT electric propulsion system leverages: (1) a novel high-speed permanent magnet machine, (2) a series-parallel, multi-level silicon carbide (SiC) based motor drive topology, (3) a high-power density gearbox using lightweight composite, and (4) an integrated and actively controlled thermal management system that provides coolant directly to the motor, gearbox and power converter.

Potential Impact:

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

Security:

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.

Environment:

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.

Economy:

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.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Peter de Bock
Project Contact:
Dr. Jagadeesh Tangudu
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
tangudjk@rtx.com

Partners

Collins Aerospace
SUNY University at Buffalo
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Ames National Laboratory
Purdue University

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Release Date:
12/17/2019