Compact Propulsion Engine Optimized with Waste Heat Recovery (CO-POWER)

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Program:
REEACH
Award:
$2,815,610
Location:
East Hartford,
Connecticut
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
06/04/2021 - 06/03/2023

Critical Need:

ARPA-E seeks to mitigate the growing environmental burden associated with commercial air travel at minimum economic cost. The REEACH objective is to develop a disruptive energy storage and power generation (ESPG) system to convert the chemical energy contained in energy-dense carbon neutral liquid fuels (CNLFs) into electric power for aircraft propulsion via electric powertrains and other key systems. Ultra-high conversion efficiency and high specific power and energy are critical for technical feasibility and commercial success of the ESPG systems due to CNLFs’ generally either lower specific energies or higher projected cost compared to incumbent fossil-based jet fuels.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The CO-POWER project will enable a commercial narrow body electric aircraft by developing an ultra-efficient and lightweight fuel to electricity power generation system that includes the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) as a working fluid. The proposed approach combines decades of knowledge in gas turbine engines with novel advances in additive manufacturing research and sCO2 power generation experience to increase the overall power system efficiency and its power density. The work will result in the development of a first-of-its-kind aircraft gas turbo-electric engine with a sCO2 waste heat recovery cycle. This engine will deliver power more efficiently, with greater than 10% absolute increase in the fuel to electricity conversion efficiency and at comparable weight to current state-of-the-art gas turbines. Raytheon Technologies’ goal is to transition this technology into hybrid aviation and aircraft primary power generation applications, with up to a 20% fuel burn savings in aviation transport (equivalent to 0.8 Quads per year). The system can operate with any carbon neutral liquid fuel to achieve net-zero GHG emissions, making it entirely fuel flexible.

Potential Impact:

Electrified aviation propulsion systems have the potential to achieve ultra-high fuel-to-propulsive power conversion efficiencies compared with existing turbofan and turboprop systems.

Security:

This program could ensure U.S. technology leadership in ultra-high efficiency aircraft propulsion systems capable of exploiting CNLFs.

Environment:

A high specific power electrified propulsion system framework could enable net-zero carbon aviation by facilitating the transition to carbon neutral liquid fuels (CNLFs) while meeting all mission requirements.

Economy:

The developed ESPG sub-system could provide the foundational technology for a new industry in ultra-high efficiency propulsion systems while improving the competitiveness of the existing air transportation industry by reducing fuel costs.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. David Tew
Project Contact:
Dr. Ram Ranjan
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
ranjanr1@rtx.com

Partners

Barber Nichols
Collins Aerospace
Pratt & Whitney
Oregon State University

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Release Date:
12/17/2019