NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 E2.07-8058
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Platform Power Management and Distribution
PROPOSAL TITLE: ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT, HIGH EFFICIENCY SILICON-CARBIDE (SIC) BASED POWER ELECTRONIC CONVERTERS

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ARKANSAS POWER ELECTRONICS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
700 W Research Blvd
Fayetteville, AR 72701-7174
(479)443-5759

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Alexander B Lostetter
alostet@apei.net
700 W Research Blvd
Fayetteville, AR 72701-7174
(479)799-6578

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
This Small Business of Innovation Research Phase I proposal seeks to investigate and prove the feasibility of developing highly efficient, ultra-lightweight SiC semiconductor based power electronic converters for Earth science mission vehicles. With high temperature operation of power electronics components, heatsinking and active cooling thermal management strategies can be significantly downgraded; thus reducing the size, volume, and weight of the overall power electronic systems by as much as an order of magnitude. This would translate directly to savings in space launch costs and in improving vehicle payload capacity. SiC power devices have a theoretical junction temperature operational limit of over 600 oC, and with the recent advancement of these devices, high efficiency ultra-lightweight power electronics system will become a reality within the next 5 years. SiC power devices also offer other improved performance characteristics over their silicon counterparts, including 10? the blocking voltages, 10? the power densities, reduced switching losses, and improved switching frequencies up into the 10s of GHz range. Modularizing these SiC power converters for easy utilization in all facets of NASA vehicular power management and distribution applications would provide the potential for substantial financial savings, improved reliability, and improved performance.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The development of ultra-lightweight SiC power converters would find application in a number of NASA orbital, aerospace, marine, and deep space missions. These converters would offer volume, weight, and performance benefits for energy conversion power systems, including; solar arrays, fuel cell or battery banks, nuclear powered cores, or other power sources. The same technology could be used in a wide range of other power electronics systems as well, including DC actuator/motor drives for vehicle or spacecraft appendages, AC motor drives, and power distribution/protection systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The ability to operate at high temperatures and high power densities makes the SiC technology attractive for deep earth petroleum exploration equipment, military motor drive applications (such as for hybrid-electric combat vehicles), commercial fuel cell power converters, or upgrades to the national power grid. Longer term applications would be driven by reduced costs, where it is envisioned the technology will dominate the industrial machines motor drive markets with high efficiency, high power density, motor integrated solutions. Baldor Motors, one of the world's leading manufacturers of electric motors and drives, has shown great interest in the potential of this technology for the commercial market-place, and has provided a letter of support.