Bi-directional DC/DC Three Port Converter, WBG DC/AC Drive and Distributed Controls for Electric and Hybrid Airplanes

Grants and Contracts Details


The proposed graduate student research from University of Kentucky (UK) SPARK Lab will develop new high-performance power electronics and electric machine drive concepts for the power systems of future more electric aircrafts. The topics align with those from the on-going electric propulsion concept projects (1-10MW) within the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), Advanced Air Transport Technology (AATT), as well as with other NASA roadmap elements. A novel concept for a three-port bi-directional isolated dc/dc power converter (3pDC/DC) based on the emerging wide bandgap (WBG) switching devices is proposed in order to maximize system efficiency, concurrently reduce weight and size through the reduction of the cooling system and of the magnetic components, provide isolation and increase fault tolerance for components and systems. The 3pDC/DC the converter can be coupled to an electric machine drive, to an electric battery, and to the electric power system of an aircraft, respectively. The proposal also includes a specialized electric machine drive (EMD) with a WBG dc/ac inverter and innovative current weakening controls. New concepts for distributed controls with high system performance and fault tolerance will also be investigated. Computational design studies with multi-domain simulations will include the 10MW 5,000 rpm system for the NASA project using the Boeing 737- 800 Aircraft with CFM56-7B Engines, the 1MW PAX design and, for scalability, small solar airplanes and UEVs with hybrid energy storage technology. A small-scale 2kW unit will be designed and prototyped and will allow the flexibility to connect the third port either to a passive load for lab testing or to a PV generator for a field demonstration in the UK operational solar car. The graduate fellow (GF) student will be academically advised by experienced professors and will work in a university research lab, which undertakes projects on other special ultra-light high- efficiency electric machines and drives. The GF student will also be mentored by a NASA expert, whom he will be visiting during the academic vacations.
Effective start/end date1/1/1812/31/18


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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