Electrical power generation for sustained high speed flight

Period of Performance: 11/30/2010 - 11/30/2012


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Johnson Research & Development
263 Decatur Street
Atlanta, GA 30312
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Georgia Institute of Technology
225 North Ave NW
Atlanta, GA 30332
Institution POC


ABSTRACT: Providing electrical power for long duration hypersonic flight is a technology that is required to bring about this revolutionary mode of transport. Whether for weapons delivery or for space access, the long duration missions anticipated require a novel approach to the generation of electrical power during flight. Scramjets contain no rotating shafts from which typical generators or mechanical pumps can be run. The energy source that is available during hypersonic flight is heat. We propose the use of the tremendous abundance of waste heat that occurs during hypersonic flight to produce electric power using a solid state heat engine. The Engine, using the compression and expansion of gas through electrochemical cells (similar to fuel cells) yields a Carnot equivalent cycle to convert any heat source into viable electric power. Leveraging our subcontractor s existing experience in hypersonic flight technologies and as a follow up to our successful Phase I effort where we identified available heat generated by a Scramjet in operation, we shall continue our efforts to mate the JTEC electrochemical heat engine to a Scramjet. During the Phase II Johnson Research will produce a working JTEC proof of concept power generating system to be coupled to the Scramjet in the combustion facility at Georgia Tech. A design for the desired 100kW system will be produced as well as data to support its integration to be built during a subsequent Phase III effort. BENEFIT: Implementation of the proposed heat engine technology will provide a method to produce additional electricity during flight to operate electronic systems and related equipment.