UES has been awarded a Phase I SBIR from the Air Force to investigate advanced control concepts for frequency domain electrical accumulator units (EAU). Military aircraft are steadily moving toward the “More Electric Aircraft (MEA)” concept where large flight loads like hydraulic actuators are replaced with electrical analogs powered by high voltage (270) direct current (DC) systems. The initial instantiation of these electrical analogs resulted in higher-than-anticipated demand and regeneration power spikes which has caused undue demands on the electrical generators. Industry and the US Air Force are investigating concepts to ameliorate the effects of these transient power issues on the generator by developing electrical accumulators (analogs to hydraulic accumulators) with the goal of supplying/sinking 100% of the transients above/below the average generator load. This SBIR challenges the notion of supplying 100% of the transient electrical load through the EAU by exploring concepts where lower frequency components of the transient load are supplied/sunk by the generator while the EAU supplies/sinks the higher frequency components. A frequency domain EAU concept will be defined, mathematically modeled and operated in a simulated electrical system with other aircraft key electrical system components (e.g., generator, actuators, energy storage). A scaled frequency domain EAU prototype will be tested in a laboratory environment to prove the feasibility of the control system and EAU converter.
The first commercial application of our results will likely be on military aircraft, such as F-35 derivatives. The knowledge garnered from this project will have widespread use on other military vehicles including US Army ground vehicles, Navy aircraft and certainly advanced Air Force vehicles. However as “electrification” continues in automotive and construction industries (e.g., “more electric” bulldozers) the potential exists for widespread use of SBIR-generated knowledge. General Electric, UES’ SBIR partner, will spearhead efforts to commercialize on aerospace and defense vehicles in existing and emerging power products.