NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-2 X2.03-9028
PHASE 1 CONTRACT NUMBER: NNX12CE01P
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Electric Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Hybrid Direct Drive PPU with Extended Operating Range

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Colorado Power Electronics, Inc.
120 Commerce Drive, Unit 1
Fort Collins, CO 80524 - 4731
(970) 482-0191

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Bryce Hesterman
bryce.hesterman@c-pwr.com
120 Commerce Drive, Unit 1
Fort Collins, CO 80524 - 4731
(970) 482-0191

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
High-power electric propulsion with Hall thrusters has been proposed as a strong candidate for Electric Path missions, but conventional power processing units (PPUs) are complicated and the mass of the discharge power converters needs to be reduced. Direct Discharge Power Processing Units (DDUs) have been proposed as an alternative due to their simplicity and low mass, but the achievable operating range of thrust and ISP is significantly limited because power regulation for DDUs is only achieved through gas flow control, array offpointing or shunting. This proposal presents a compromise between PPUs and DDUs called a Hybrid Direct Drive Power Processing Unit (HDDU) that provides a wider operating range than DDUs while reducing the mass and increasing the efficiency compared to conventional PPUs. An HDDU provides filtering like a DDU, but it can additionally raise or lower the discharge voltage over a limited range. An HDDU only processes the power necessary to raise or lower the discharge voltage. We propose using a soft switching non-inverting interleaved buck-boost circuit similar to what was built for Phase I, but with improved control circuitry and a modular chassis. Straight-through direct drive operation is possible by leaving the buck switches on continually while having the boost switches off. The proposed HDDU would operate from an input voltage of 150 V to 300 V, and would provide 15 kW output power from approximately 200 V to 500 V. The HDDU approach is readily scalable to higher power levels by connecting modules in parallel because the proposed circuit naturally shares output currents. The HDDU will also include a digital control interface unit (DCIU), heater, keeper and magnet supply modules and driving circuits for a VACCO gas flow controller. The DCIU will be controlled through a Windows GUI and a MIL-STD-1553 communication to USB adapter. The modular approach and enhanced operating range promote design re-use and reduce life-cycle costs.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Hybrid Direct Drive Power Processing Units are well-suited for both manned and unmanned Electric Path missions, and can be readily scaled to hundreds of kilowatts through parallel-connected modules of approximately 15 kW. The power converters used in the HDDUs could be re-purposed for a variety of power conversion applications such as fuel-cell output converters and solar array simulators. The primary market for this technology is for high-power low-cost electric propulsion systems where Hall thrusters are likely to be used. It is anticipated that the CPE HDDU will have a lower cost than state-of-the-art PPU designs. Additionally, the high specific mass and high efficiency will reduce the overall system cost. The enhanced operating range capabilities compared to a pure direct drive can help enable missions where shifts between high thrust for short-term maneuvers and high ISP for long-term operation are desirable. The wide-range capabilities and a modular design also enable one HDDU design to be used in a variety of different applications.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Hybrid Direct Drive Power Processing Units could be used for commercial and military satellites, both for station keeping and orbit lifting. The advantages outlined for NASA applications also apply here. One specific non-NASA application is for Aerojet thrusters that are being developed for geosynchronous satellite use. Commercial non-flight applications include laboratory bench power supplies. A path to high volume sales may be achieved by using the
converters refined in this SBIR for general purpose scientific equipment. The power converters used in the HDDUs could be re-purposed for a variety of power conversion applications such as fuel-cell output converters, solar array simulators and hybrid vehicles. We have had conversations with Colorado State University regarding using this technology as part of the central power system for a proposed underwater robot.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Airship/Lighter-than-Air Craft
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Conversion
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Manufacturing Methods
Processing Methods
Spacecraft Main Engine


Form Generated on 11-06-12 18:12