NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Power Management for Space Utilities
PROPOSAL TITLE:Silicon-Carbide (SIC) Multichip Power Modules (MCPMS) For Power Building Block Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, 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
700 W Research Blvd
Fayetteville, AR  72701 -7174
(479) 443 - 5759

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In Phase I, APEI, Inc. proved the feasibility of developing a modular, expandable and fault tolerant SiC-based power system through the successful demonstration of a four-module SiC-based power system capable of dynamic reconfiguration allowing the system to continue delivering power to the load without interruption in the event of a module failure. These results show the feasibility of developing miniaturized SiC multichip power modules (MCPMs) to form a core power building block component. The MCPM building blocks utilize a distributed control and communications structure, with a communications network established between the core silicon-on-insulator (SOI) controllers of the MCPMs, but with no single controller in command of the system. The decentralized control and modular approach allow for the construction of highly flexible, auto-configurable, stackable power systems to be connected in series and/or parallel to increase overall system power handling capabilities. Moreover, the identical core MCPM building blocks could be used in many power electronics applications, while various specific functions such as source regulation, energy storage regulation, and motor drives could be achieved by the use of external components. In addition, the development of high-temperature MCPMs allows high levels of miniaturization, power density, and efficiency resulting in highly reliable, compact, modular, and inexpensive power systems.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are a wide range of applications within NASA on which SiC modular power converters could make a significant impact, including: satellite & spacecraft power management systems, satellite & spacecraft motors and actuators, and extreme environment exploratory vehicles. SiC converter technology that is more efficient than silicon and offers reduced weight and volume would find application in nearly every power management system in space. Through the utilization of a high power density SiC based fault tolerant power system (3? the power density of a silicon based system), the weight of the overall power system would be reduced, thus reducing launch costs and increasing the payload capacity of the vehicle. While one advantage of SiC technology is to achieve higher power densities through high temperature operation, the other utilization of the technology is to operate in high temperature environments. The power electronics applications listed above would also be applicable to extreme environment operation where standard silicon electronics fail.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The first commercial application of APEI, Inc.'s technology is towards the geological exploration market, namely down hole orbital vibrator instrumentation. By integrating the instrument drive and control electronics within the housing of the instrument itself, and sending the entire package down hole, finer control can be achieved, response time can be improved, power delivery can be increased, and frequency of operation can be boosted. In the longer term, industrial motor drive systems could see serious performance improvement through the integration of SiC technology. The large majority of manufacturing machinery in the world incorporates a multitude of industrial motors and drives, the electronics of which often times take up entire walls and significant floor space. Significant cost savings can be found by reducing manufacturing floor space, which could be achieved by utilizing high power density SiC based drive systems. The automotive market is of course a highly competitive market in which SiC systems not only would have to be viable options from a technological/reliability stand point, but they would also have to be cost competitive to traditional alternatives. The hybrid-electric vehicle market offers an intermediary transition step into which SiC systems could first be placed, proving the feasibility of the cost competitiveness of the technology.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52