NASA SBIR 2018-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 18-1- Z1.03-1804
 Fission Surface Power Generation
 Fission Stirling Converter
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
American Superconductor Corporation
64 Jackson Road
Devens , MA 01434-4020
(978) 842-3000

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mike Amato
1840 Terminal Drive Richland, WA 99354 - 4953
(509) 943-3113

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Glenn Driscoll
64 Jackson Road Devens, MA 01434 - 4020
(978) 842-3055
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 2
End: 3
Technical Abstract

This effort describes a Fission Stirling Convertor (FSC) that is ideally suited for use with fission-based Space Nuclear Power Systems (SNPS) and/or Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) systems. FSC adapts the ongoing development of a 1-kW Free-Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) (as used in this context “engine” and “convertor” are equivalent) for terrestrial applications to meet NASA needs for SNPS. This is effort is focused on Fission Surface Power Generation, and more specifically Space Power and Energy Storage.   FSC offers multifunctional versatility that can efficiently convert thermal energy from a wide variety of heat sources into useful distributed electric power. The focus here is on heat extraction from a fission power system using heat pipes, or potentially a pumped liquid metal loop.

Potential NASA Applications

Onboard energy generation for long-term space missions.

Surface energy generation for extra-terrestrial missions.

Potential Non-NASA Applications

UAV power


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