Architecture, Voltage and Components for a Turboelectric Distributed Propulsion Electric Grid

Michael J. Armstrong, Mark Blackwelder, Andrew Bollman, Christine Ross, Angela Campbell, Catherine Jones, Patrick Norman

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The development of a wholly superconducting turboelectric distributed propulsion system presents hide unique opportunities for the aerospace industry. However, this transition from normally conducting systems to superconducting systems significantly increases the equipment complexity necessary to manage the electrical power systems. Due to the low technology readiness level (TRL) nature of all components and systems, current Turboelectric Distributed Propulsion (TeDP) technology developments are driven by an ambiguous set of system-level electrical integration standards for an airborne microgrid system (Figure 1). While multiple decades' worth of advancements are still required for concept realization, current system-level studies are necessary to focus the technology development, target specific technological shortcomings, and enable accurate prediction of concept feasibility and viability. An understanding of the performance sensitivity to operating voltages and an early definition of advantageous voltage regulation standards for unconventional airborne microgrids will allow for more accurate targeting of technology development. Propulsive power-rated microgrid systems necessitate the introduction of new aircraft distribution system voltage standards. All protection, distribution, control, power conversion, generation, and cryocooling equipment are affected by voltage regulation standards. Information on the desired operating voltage and voltage regulation is required to determine nominal and maximum currents for sizing distribution and fault isolation equipment, developing machine topologies and machine controls, and the physical attributes of all component shielding and insulation. Voltage impacts many components and system performance.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUS
Commissioning bodyNASA
Number of pages270
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • aerospace Industry
  • NASA
  • voltage regulators
  • turbogenerators
  • propulsion
  • superconductivity
  • electric potential
  • insulation


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