High Power Density Electric Machines for Applications in Renewable Energy Systems & Hybrid Electric Aircrafts
Significant improvement in electric machine power density has been made in recent years driven by emerging applications that are sensitive to size and weight of the electric power equipment. One such application is hybrid electric aircraft, which is being developed to meet ambitious emission reduction goals that have been set by the aviation industry. Small electric aircraft are already being produced and offered commercially, but significant challenges prevent electrified propulsion in commercial aviation. Technology gaps include the availability of lightweight batteries, motors, and power distribution hardware. In a recent report, the US National Academy of Engineers has identified power levels and specific-power targets for electrical machines to enable the electrification of different classes of aircraft. Both cryogenic (superconducting) and non-cryogenic machines are being pursued to meet these requirements. This talk will describe the state of the art in airborne electrical machines, approaches for attaining high power and efficiency, and potential challenges and opportunities in the integration of these technologies in electric/hybrid electric aircraft. Another application that is sensitive to electric machine power density, and at the other end of the speed spectrum, is large wind turbines. Technology synergy between these applications and development activities targeting further increase in power density will be discussed.
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