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Advanced Superconducting Motor Experimental Demonstrator

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ASuMED (Advanced Superconducting Motor Experimental Demonstrator)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-08-31

Following the goals of the EU Green Deal, the CO2 emissions of air traffic need to be reduced significantly. Thus, the ACARE Flightpath 2050 emission targets seek reductions in CO2 by 75%, NOx and particulates by 90%, and noise by 65% compared to the year 2000 status. Incremental improvements of the conventional ‘tube and wing’ aircraft configuration will not be sufficient to meet these targets. In contrast, Distributed Propulsion (DP, fig. 1) is a breakthrough approach, which opens the aircraft design space in order to reduce massively fuel consumption, emissions and noise.
To realise these gains, the DP equipment must be low weight and highly efficient. At the high power levels (1 to 5 MW/motor) required for large aircraft propulsion (e.g. A320, A350 sized aircraft), superconducting technology in generators, motors and transmission is therefore seen as the major enabler for DP. In particular, significant progress is required in the machine’s electrical efficiency and power density.

ASuMED has built the first fully superconducting (SC) motor prototype achieving the power densities and efficiencies needed for hybrid-electric distributed propulsion of future large civil aircrafts, which offers a route to achieve the above described targets of the Flightpath 2050.
The activities of the 1st project period focused on the elaboration of the requirements and the design of the SC motor prototype and its components. Based on this, the components of the motors were developed and assembled in the 2nd period.
WP1, System requirements & motor topology
- Definition of requirements for the motor system
- Elaboration of the topology of the motor system and its main components
- Studies about the integration of SC motors into future propulsion systems of large aircrafts

WP2, System design and modelling
- Characterization of the SC materials
- Definition of the stack magnetization and the rotor / stator winding configurations
- Development of a novel approach to model the magnetic flux density and AC losses in the motor combining FEM and MEMEP computations
- Numerical simulations regarding the effectiveness of superconducting shields to minimize cross-field demagnetization of the stacks
- Elaboration of an innovative safe dual-two-level inverter design
- Definition of cryostat and coolant fluids for the motor (Helium 2 bar / 25°K) with forced circulation (see fig. 2):

WP3, Stator development
- Definition of the stator concept with all components and interfaces
- Validation of the concept by numerous calculations and simulations
- Dimensioning of stator cooling circuit with integration into the winding structure and development of the cryostat
- Integration of the inverter and power supply
- Assembly of the stator system with all components and pre-tests

WP4, Rotor development
- Development of several modelling approaches for the rotor
- Iterative development of the rotor design with all relevant parts, followed by simulative and experimental validations
- Development of the cryogenics and the cooling for the rotor; an externally controlled cooling system was chosen for temperature control.
- To manage the risks of the new design of the rotor assembly, a Warm Demonstrator was built
- Integration and construction of rotor system with all parts and pre-tests

WP5, Airborne cryogenic cooler
- Specification of the cryocooler, including targets for mass and power consumption
- Process study with several best cycle architectures
- Development of innovative solutions for the key-components of an airborne cryogenic cooler such as a light heat exchanger and a cryogenic turbo alternator

WP6, Assembly and testing
- Set-up of test equipment for motor components and the test rig for the motor system
- Integration and assembly of the SC motor demonstrator including all parts
- Test and validation of the motor

WP7, Dissemination and exploitation:
Multiple dissemination activities were performed by the partners based on ASuMED project results, such as presentations at conferences, articles for scientific and non-scientific journals as well as presentations at fairs and exhibitions, e.g. Hannover fair 2019, AERODAYS 2019, Paris Air Show 2019. Based on the project findings, the partners detailed their plans for the exploitation of the project results in order to provide future products and services.

WP8, Project management:
The project has been initialized, including the setup of the project bodies and the initiation of the internal management and communication processes. The project progress was monitored w.r.t. to the project plan by the Coordinator and the General Assembly including also the quality of the project results and the project risks.
The ASuMED prototype outperforms state-of-the-art e-motors with normal conductive technologies. The project work focused on the development of an innovative motor topology, a superconducting stator and rotor, a magnetization system as well as a light and highly efficient cryostat for the motor.
Novel numerical modeling methods were developed, which will be applicable for further R&D projects.
A lightweight airborne cryocooling system has been developed, which proves the applicability of such a system in commercial aircrafts.
Further, a highly dynamic, fail-safe and robust control of the SC machine is realized by a modular inverter topology.
Technical targets:
- development and demonstration of a new fully superconducting motor concept for high power aircraft propulsion with both superconducting stator and rotor, for an evaluation under lab conditions (TRL 4),
- high-temperature superconducting (HTS) stator with an electric loading of >450kA/m and integrated magnetization system,
- rotor concept using HTS stacks operating like permanent magnets and a magnetic loading of >2.5 T,
- light, highly efficient cryostat for the motor combined with an associated power converter,
- prototype for demonstration with ~1 MW power at 6.000rpm thermal loss <0.1%, and scalability to higher power values,
- investigation of a new airborne cryogenic cooling system,
- novel numerical 2D/3D modelling methods for superconducting motors,
- innovative modular inverter topology with enhanced failure protection.
Main economic and societal impacts of the project will be:
- As an essential enabler for DP based large civil transport aircraft, the application of the ASuMED developments will have a large environmental impact, and will help to meet the target reductions of noise by 71db, NOx by 75% and fuel burn by 70% (compared to the year 2000 base case).
- The competitiveness of the European aviation industry will be strengthened by new market opportunities. Electric DP can be considered as a disruptive technology, which has the potential to completely change existing value chains. An early leadership of EU companies is necessary to develop new products, services and solutions resulting in a massive economic growth in the EU aviation industry.
- Highest efficiency of the new systems reduces fuel consumption and may enable longer flight ranges or different mission profiles.
- The project’s results can be applied in further markets, e.g. wind turbines, transportation (rail and shipping), new torque motors for industrial drives etc.
Dual-cryostat concept for the ASuMED motor
Example distributed propoulsion