HTS technology improves performance of fully electric and hybrid drive systems. Superconducting units provide significant advantage over conventional counterparts, especially for multi-megawatt power range. The use of superconductors could be an efficient path to reduce propulsion system dimensions, weight and operating voltage.
In future, the use of liquid hydrogen or LNG fuel as a refrigerant for HTS will unveil huge – and yet untouched – potential
A demonstrator of a hybrid-electric propulsion system for aviation based on HTS technology was developed with the financial support of the Advanced Research Foundation. Under this project, SuperOx developed and tested a number of HTS electric motor demonstrators for 50-500 kW power range. Achieving low AC losses in HTS coils, SuperOx made a real breakthrough in this project and demonstrated the reliability of HTS operation in a complex engineering device. In 2020, the operation of the HTS electric motor powered by lithium battery was demonstrated for the first time. Further cryogenic elements of the hybrid system were developed in frame of this project, including on-board SFCL, DC current bus, generator and commutation systems.
Hybrid flight laboratory
Since 2020, in cooperation with Central Institute of Aviation Motors (CIAM), Siberian Institute of Aviation (SibNIA) and Zhukovsky National Research Center, SuperOx integrates the cryogenic HTS electric motor on board of the Yakovlev-40 hybrid flight laboratory and conducts its first flight tests. Under this project, 500 kW HTS electric motor with autonomous cryocooling system was installed in the nose of the aircraft, while the turboshaft engine and a generator were installed in the tail, substituting one of the regular Yak-40’s AI-25 engine. Other components of the hybrid power system – such as batteries – are placed in the fuselage. Thus, SuperOx HTS electric motor became a part of a hybrid propulsion system demonstrator developed by CIAM. The world’s first flight experience of the HTS motor is expected to be one of the main takeaways of this ambitious project.
Cable system for Airbus
Under the research project funded by Airbus, SuperOx has designed, built and successfully tested an AC superconducting multi-terminal cable system. The three-phase system was designed to transmit up to 14 MW of power at 6 kV and AC frequencies up to 400 Hz.
1 MW aviation electric motor (ASUMED project)
SuperOx joined an ASUMED Consortium of 9 European partners, which was set to create worlds’ first 1 MW HTS electric motor for aviation. Within this project, SuperOx was responsible for the development and supply of customized HTS wires. The work of SuperOx was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. The project paves the way for future greener airflight.