Transient test and AC loss study of a cryogenic propulsion unit for all electric aircraft

Weng, Fangjing and Zhang, Min and Elwakeel, Abdelrahman and Lan, Tian and McNeill, Neville and Yuan, Weijia (2021) Transient test and AC loss study of a cryogenic propulsion unit for all electric aircraft. IEEE Access, 9. pp. 59628-59636. ISSN 2169-3536 (

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This paper reports a pioneering demonstration platform of a cryogenic propulsion unit at liquid nitrogen temperature. A high temperature superconducting (HTS) machine is connected with a cryogenic power rectifier in a generator mode to prove the feasibility of a cryogenic propulsion unit for electric aircraft propulsion applications. Machine operation was carried out with a special focus on the total heat dissipation inside the HTS AC windings. Different types of 2G HTS tapes were tested to provided data for stator coils’ design. The transient operation was carried out to represent a short-circuit failure in one of the power electronic devices. The test shows AC loss performance of the HTS windings using calorimetric method during the short circuit event, indicating the importance of developing protection schemes for the cryogenic propulsion units to prevent damage to the HTS components. The paper provides initial insights into the interaction between superconducting machines and cryogenic power electronics within a cryogenic propulsion unit. It is an important first step to understand and further develop cryogenic propulsion technology for future electric aircraft.